A Poem For My Lover on Valentine’s Day

heartYour Heart, Praise God

I wish I could visit your heart
like a museum,
pry open your sternum
with my hands,
exposing the bumbum bumbum
shining and red and pulsing
with your life.

I’d knock gently with a fingertip,
wherein you’d welcome me.
Through sinews,
sliding down the aorta,
veering around the vena cava,
trekking over the mountain tops of the atrium
and entering the pulmonary artery—
into the vacuum of your right ventricle,
down, down, down
hot and racing the depths,
pressure pounding in my own blue veins,
into the Tunnel of Approach.
Bright, bright distant lights
casting shadows on the scarlet cavern walls.

There’s your mom at the entrance
wearing that same outfit you remember
by the kitchen sink, in front of her sewing machine.

There’s your father bearing his Bible
to Sunday school and brown bags of groceries.

Your brothers near him, years ago outside,
the stick stuck through Samuel’s cheek,
the three of you watching evening TV.

Nanaw cooking dinner and cookies in the oven,
Grandy still sitting in his ancient stoic chair.

There are JB, Barrett, and Michael
on the shiny tiled floors of your high school,
drinking vodka in the woods
and on couches in the basement.

There are Ryan and Caroline
on their wedding day,
white dressed and tuxedo adorned,
rejoicing on the steps of the red brick Baptist chapel.

The girls you loved before me
standing shyly in the corner.

And there’s our church,
a human chain
draped on either side of your heart aisle
for miles.

Then I see myself
in a wool hat at sunrise.

But the light’s
grown much too bright.
Tiny infinite shards of
absolute fluorescent perception…
And when any further approach becomes impossible
I seek desperately to squint against the
glare but catch only a glimpse of




Originally published in the Broad River Review.


  1. Love it, love you, love your writing, love your heart, love you, did I mention that I love you? The very essence of you

  2. It’s really clever- an anatomical approach to love and romance- and I like the way a crowd is slowly gathering as the poem progresses- family, friends, memories.

    But then I get stuck on the very last line- “hem” ? Whose hem ? Is it a typo for him ? Or Him ?
    Help me, if you’ve got time.

    • It’s a reference to God. There’s a story in Isaiah 6 of the Bible where Isaiah sees the Lord and the Lord’s figure is so immense that just the hem of his garment fills the temple. There are also stories in the New Testament where people are healed just by touching the hem of Jesus’ robe. Thanks for asking about that clarification!

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