Impossible Hearts

Before sundown, name the specter that wants 
to steal your heart or the heart of your child.  

Free the bitter heart from its swimming
pool of bile, or the impostor heart

hesitating in the doorway of its own
home. And all of us have been that girl

told to love her tower-prison because the world
she's only allowed to glimpse from a tiny window 

can hardly be real. Marbled blue-green 
and veined with magenta, strings of hearts 

tumble down the walls and into your hand. 
Briars grow upward, out of their knotted 

roots; then wind their thorns around the pillars. 
Before the days lengthen and the earth falls 

fallow again for a whole season, feed the hungry 
heart a last meal of crimson fruit, something 

it will hide under its tongue and savor 
slowly, piece after piece. Everyone keeps 

something back for those days that might 
not lean like a lover into one's arms. You listen

for the flute of returning birds, for the crack
of icicles releasing from winter's heart.  

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