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