Heart Weighted With Cares

This entry is part 7 of 63 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2011


“The feeling heart does not tire of carrying
ballast.” ~ Jane Hirshfield

But at the end of the day it does
want to complain, even just a little—

so long having borne the heft of metallic
plates, having had to stand in a stream

of electric current in order to stabilize
its flow. Beneath the train tracks,

layers of crushed rock and gravel; and on
each ship that cruises past the harbor,

weights of wood to keep the sails aloft.
It isn’t easy trying to be always

good, always generous, choosing virtue
over selfishness or spite. And there are

so many gaps in each day, so little time
to get all of it right. Even the leaves

of the tiny heal-all have turned into orange-
tinged lace, now riddled with holes. How long

have I been trying to make a little more time
every day? After the dishes are washed,

I chop and slice, cube and simmer two more
dinners to freeze. I tell myself, If I do

Saturday’s laundry now perhaps I can actually
have a weekend
; or, If I stay up to finish

this report, perhaps I can get a full night’s sleep
. And through all this, the weightier

demands of time filter through the practical
work of minds and hands: suffering and longing,

desires that have not yet been met. Some days,
the heart is exhausted before it can even lay

itself in the arms of sleep or love;
most days it peels back the covers

and pushes itself again into its shoes—
thick, sensible soles made for work

or walking, anchors to keep the body
dreaming of flight, close to the ground.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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