Your Heart

I looked
On your nightstand
Beneath your pillow,
The dresser drawer
I opened boxes in your closet
Parted the leaves
Of your white lily
Ran an arm
Beneath your bed ruffle

And still, I couldn’t find it
Found your diary
Your lost earring
Your high-school yearbook
But I couldn’t
Find your heart

So I got sneaky, I began looking
In those places where people hide
Things they don’t want others
To realize is important
Like the un-dusted shelf
In the guest room
Like the cracked pages
Of a forgettable book
I searched
The box marked “scrap cloth”
In your attic
But I didn’t
Find your heart

Then I realized, how could I find
Something I didn’t know
Something I didn’t understand
What was its shape, its texture
Did it shift in tides
Or flutter like a moth to the flame?
I could have passed it already
It could be in plain sight
I was doing this all wrong

So instead I became
A student of you
I learned the face
You make in your sleep
And how you always
Kick off your shoes
When you’re ready for supper, but
You don’t take off your socks
Until it’s time for bed
I learned that you like
Coming unexpectedly on a rainbow
And that you cry
Over your bathroom sink

And I learned
You never sing
In the shower

And still
I almost missed it
One day, on the streets
Where it lay pressed against the gutter
Plastered with old news
Grit, cigarette butts
A sad matted thing
That only caught my eye
Because it wilted when my shadow
Passed over its form
I turned back
Shocked, ashamed
To see it so helpless
To feel it shiver in my palms
This
This was yours?

You deserved better

I took your heart home with me
Wrapped in my jacket
Whispering, soothing
I dabbed away the crusts
Of blood and tears
Of scabs and scars
The shedding layers of dreams
I cradled and smoothed it
Late at night against my chest
Changing the bandages
Under weak shadows from the moon
I held it all night long
All night long

I have found you
And I will keep you safe
I will hold your heart

© Amanda Smith, 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Please do not copy or reproduce without permission.

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