Appendix Heart

The inspiration for this poem came about last year as I recovered from an emergency appendectomy that left an itchy, conspicuous scar on my abdomen. I had plenty of time to write while staring at my scar, which reminded me of the cactus pears I used to eat as a child and which, despite their sweet, juicy flesh, often pinched my palms with invisible yet painful spines. Lost love was the same, I thought. For a few weeks, I spent hours resting, writing and listening to old love songs-obviously entertaining spells of nostalgia. As I wrote the line in my poem about “an organ born to ruin”, it became clear to me that the metaphor was applicable to the human heart as well as the appendix. And of course there is the significance of an appendix as an afterthought at the very end of a book. Hope you enjoy Appendix Heart.

 

Appendix Heart  

 

Afterwards, all that remains

is a prickly pear scar,  twelve blood-red seeds

plotted along a thermometer

of yoked sun streaks and a purple road

stitched high above my thigh

like a grin that refuses to break.

 

In the countless convalescent hours,

I meditate on the same scar

that lives inside long ago

songs about lost

lovers in the desert space

where they congregate

to pick cactus fruit and wait

until it’s time to return.

 

Most never return.

But once in a parallel while,

a voice calls from the hollow

left where there used to be

an organ born to ruin,

sutured only with the promise of undying

love, turned prickly sweet.

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