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  • Writer's pictureErin Brown

POETRY | Two Hearts

Updated: Dec 4, 2023


I wish I had two hearts:

One that I could give when it was needed,

A bird-wing song beating fast and bright against the cage of my back pocket,

and another that would just keep ticking

every time

the first one broke.

No fanfare. Just the rhythm of a rubber stamp

on paper

in the empty marble stomach

of a bank at 3:02pm.

But two hearts is wishful thinking.

Or terrible planning.

One is hard enough.

One is

heavy enough.

Only a mad mind or an idiot,

or worse, an optimist

Asks for more of the same weight,

as though more to carry in this life, will make it lighter.

It is never lighter.

Hearts feel everything,

and when mine is in disrepair, it feels

More.

I need a rest from it. All this feeling.

I'm so tired: a tightrope walker

with no faith left in the wire

And exhausted in the places I used to feel lightning.

I wish I had two hearts,

so at least then, somewhere

in the house of who I am, there'd be room

for a small shelf, up high, where I could place

These thin, iridescent shards of the life I thought I might have led once,

Somewhere they can occasionally catch the sun,

even while they're gathering dust.

I don't want to put them entirely away.

I want their sharp edges and impossible colours.

Still.

I turn them over inside myself.

In the dusty quiet,

pearlescent thoughts aching

in the bright ruby palms of my mind.

There's too many of them.

Too many intimate reminders

that I can still dream thunderous dreams

of planets between stars

and planter boxes on porches.

I wish I had two hearts,

so at least one of them could live

in the permanent, ignorant bliss

of paper-thin possibilities, while the other,

Like the heel of a soldier's boot, just kept marching

Onward, pragmatic and pausing only

to frame the silence it scoops out of the river

and does not fear.

I wish I had two hearts.

Or maybe I wish I had none.


© Erin Brown, 2023

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