States of Poetry 2016 - TAS | 'On World Heart Day' by Jane Williams

On World Heart Day

I notice your scars more than usual -
life-saving stuck zippers.

I want to plant kisses
like votives along each one:

along the delicate ribbon of light
between your extroverted nipples,

along the scythe shaped slash
de-freckling your right calf.

Hospital flowers bloomed, petals fell
in the sterile-fresh air that day.

I wove endearments like chainmail
across the terrible divide

as miracle drugs fought to save you,
leaving demons in their wake.

Somewhere in your addled brain
a small piece of trust remained

and you gave it to me -
love’s indefatigable radar homing in.

That first night home we read
Postoperative Delirium over beer

and ice cream the way we once
read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

With no more to wish for we fell asleep
to the tick of your tin man heart.

But they cracked open your breast bone
and I cannot think too long on this.

The pressure it took. The precision.
The stillness of your heart and lungs.

The machine that breathed for you.
The one that brightened your blood.

And the tunnel, that anecdotal tunnel
you say you never saw coming

returning you to me like fortune,
my light-scarred Lazarus love.

Jane Williams


Jane Williams

Jane Williams

Jane Williams’s poems have been published widely since the early 1990s. She is the author of five collections of poems and one of short stories. Her most recent book is Days Like These: New and selected poems. Awards for her poetry include the Anne Elder Award, the D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship, and the Bruce Dawe Prize. She has read her poetry in several countries including United States, Ireland, Malaysia, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. While best known for her poetry, she enjoys writing in a variety of forms, combining photography and creative writing and collaborating with other artists. She has a Masters of Creative Writing from the University of Canberra and coedits the online literary and arts journal Communion with her partner Ralph Wessman.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.