The Heart by Rebecca Mendel

I. The Madness
I’m not strumming along for your sympathy.
Cow bells rattle in my ears.
Please, do not listen to them.

I should have known it would go like this
Shakespeare wrote about something like this.
Didn’t Ophelia die from this?

II. The Goodness
Maybe some goodness leaked into my pores.
Instead of collecting dust on household floors.
Yeah, maybe that’s better than being the sewer rat.
For now, It might seem I’m a tin girl missing her tin hat.

III. The Heart
I think about it a lot.
Oh, how I thought it rot.
Got hitched.
Tied the knot.
Maybe it was just dethroned by a couple of stones
and I forgot.

IV. The Truth
Is hidden underneath the bones.
The brittle bones. The whistles when it’s cold bones.
The maybe even good bones
instead of those dirty,
buried in the mud bones.

IV. Beating
Behold, you said. I’m the one who knows!
Maybe it did simmer, just a little.
Maybe it was excited by you here, asking for a riddle,
making noise reach up, happy as a fiddle
Maybe Not, But, I hear it you said. I hear it.

V. The Heart
Murky Memory. False Fallacy. If it’s here I want it out of me.
All in good humor, just a normal girl thinking something split her
right down the middle.

VI. The Middle
I already felt like road kill a squirrel that sought out it’s last thrill.
This pain will take a lot more than Advil.
I’d rather just down a sleeping pill, than hear your words spill
as I remain still.

VII. Still
I couldn’t sleep,
but you said I was sleeping.
It’s why the evil stopped creeping.

If only you knew.
If only you knew.
Three hours.
Eyes closed.
I was praying.
I was preaching.

VIII. The Heart
I shouldn’t care, but your ear was right there.
Writers always call it “bosom”
So? You saw the lines and you crossed them.
Was I supposed to believe that anyway? Were you?
Whatever. It’s whatever.

IX. The Lying Lady
Never quite gone.
Something still simmers on and on.
Oh, Sweet Simmer, sway.
Simmer. Slamming doors. Simmer. The Lying Lady. Simmer.
Sweet Fahrenheit. Sweet Delight. Sweet Simmering Heart if you exist, Hold
Tight.
Eyes Closed. It Simmers. I Was Trying. I Was Simmering.
My Seething Simmering Veins. I’m Seeing Different Things.
The Pot Simmers.
Something Fades.

X. Love
Oh, sweet, Heart if you do sway at your pace,
is it because love is a slow burning?
Love’s a slow, sweet simmer.
Nothing too cruel, nothing too chaste.
But a fight is always the case.

XI. The Ring
Love’s kicking.
Hand Trained.
Face to Face.
Ding, Ding!
In the corner of the ring,
sitting on the stool.
Waiting for me?
I go by The Fool.

XII. The Fool
Yeah, I’m in the corner of the ring.
Following all the rules.
Let the fat lady sing!
No simmer.
Crowd boos.
No winner. Losing doesn’t taste bitter.
Instead it’s like gnawing on wood, a mouth full of splinters.

IX. Close
It’s not dying,
but when I think about it, it is a lot like
flying in an airplane as it tries to do the splits,
endless somersaulting through clouds of mist.

Why? Get this: my arms end at the wrists.
You see, I’m just lacking the fists.
It’s why I could only feel a phantom of pain.
A ghost.
Just a little white hot nothing when your hand curled into
mine.

So close.

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