Nasty Things, Those Hearts

BY Kristin Abraham

              —for Matt

In the first room, he fishes for the moon in the water.  He writes a roundup: his words bringing the old-boy dog to heel, his words like choking in her storm. He writes. He forgives.

In the second room, she is seizing.  He holds his hands to her head, presses her skull and its scratching frenetic bird; he tethers her with tent hooks and trumpet vine. 

In the third room, she tears from her skin those hooks, lets loose his pulleys.  Her wreck is personal, some such nowhere.  

This is the room that holds her other room.  Her room of piled purchases, phrenological maps, papers, papers, purloined pills, a folded argument, a folded love. This room hides her greatest fear.

In the fourth room, his fingers lock together, look like brains.  He is taller than Jesus in hat and boots, worn and flannel. He persists.

The fourth room hides his greatest fear. In this room he dreams up trees and windfalls, hollers boom in his sleep. This room is endless, windowless. Is jugular air.  

In the fifth room, his lungs are lost in saguaro.  He is miles and miles, wire topography. In the fifth room, he works harder, ribs along, listens for shhhh with his bad ear. 

The end room is a spill of light, an abandoned lantern, a white hundred. The worst smile is a repetition.


Susan Yount reads "Nasty Things, Those Hearts"

Kristin Abraham is the author of The Disappearing Cowboy Trick (poetry, forthcoming from Horse Less Press) and two chapbooks:  Little Red Riding Hood Missed the Bus (Subito Press, 2008) and Orange Reminds You of Listening (Elixir Press, 2006).  Her poetry and lyric essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Best New Poets 2005, Columbia Poetry Review, LIT, and American Letters & Commentary. She teaches at a community college in Wyoming, and lives in Colorado, where she serves as editor-in-chief and poetry editor of the literary magazine Spittoon.