Poem: Beats Per Lifetime

Avoiding interest isn’t all it’s supposed to be,
because you pay hands down
with no way to pay slowly,

and we all know we all pay sooner
or later.

We often see 0% interest,
pay now, no worries later!
come now, sale prices!
Well, not everything is bought.

In this case, gentlemen,
we have a different situation,
one which we have not,
til this point,
dealt with.
Sirs, I implore you,
examine this heart
and tell me what you see inside.

It is not beating matter of red and blue-blooded girls,
parting on command.
It is locked, and we haven’t the key to open it.
That key was given
when this heart was too young to understand,
and we have preserved it thus.
It beats on occasion, irregularly
to match its situation.
Sir, you, yes, what do you see?

“I see nothing but a heart,” said the first,
followed shortly by the unbidden agreement,
“I, too, see just a heart, closed as it may be.”

Well, you gentlemen are deceived. Yes,
it is a heart.
it is closed.
but here we have a uniqueness overlooked by most:
it is not broken, but it is battered.
turn it ‘round, where you wouldn’t think to look.
No, the texture is not uniform,
this part is much softer, much more willing to give,
and oh, dear, so much for being careful,
there, it opens.

Look through this hole you’ve punctured,
right near the left ventricle,
and what is it, that there?

Oh, yes.
That is a key given back,
a key twice given,
to be twice returned.
Rare, indeed.

Gentle, please, you know this is really quite unseen.
This key, we thought,
was missing, hidden, buried,
but no…
returned, and twice.

It healed, barely,
where now there lies a newly opened wound.
Well, here she gave her heart to us,
and we’ve added to the mess.
“She’s not here now to protest it;
we may as well take a look.”

These walls are beaten from the inside,
it seems she wanted nothing more
than to give the key.
Take it, sir, and examine it carefully.

Oh, I should have seen this coming.
The key will not budge,
not for us.
The heart is perpetually bound
to one, one who will not take it.
The key has been nearly ripped out
on a few occasions,
see the scratch marks, there,
and the walls of the top right valve
are paper thin.

Every love she had
and every man she touched
had no chance.
nothing to compare to Him.

Note, my notable Sirs,
that since we opened this heart,
it has not beaten once,
it has gotten colder,
and the key has faded into the heart,
until it is nearly indistinguishable
from the flesh.

She was given up,
and he gave her back to herself.
She gave again,
and added flesh and blood and tears.
All this you can see;
what’s left of her is this heart,
hesitant, defensive,
open to harm, and harmed.

It’s only so many times we can receive ourselves back
before we are sick
of seeing ourselves,
of being our selves that keep getting returned.

Poem: Beats Per Lifetime

Jenny Cameron

East Aurora, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

That’s what it feels like.

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