Do you ever think about the shape of your heart? The human heart does have a specific shape, what with its lovely cavernous ventricles and orbed atria, but what I’m talking about is the metaphorical shape of your heart.
Over the last few days I have been reading Dorianne Laux’s poems in her book Smoke, and I stumbled upon her poem “Heart.” While reading Laux’s poem, I started to focus on my own heart. At first I noticed that it was a flower bulb in the deep, dark depths of me. Then, a little green sprout appeared at the top, like part of me was opening up, seeking a bit of light.
In “Heart,” Laux writes:
“The heart shifts shape of its own accord–
from bird to ax, from pinwheel
to budded branch.”
And then, later:
“Harmonica heart, heart of tinsel,
heart of cement, broken teeth, redwood fence.
Heart of bricks and boards, books stacked
in devoted rows, their dusty spines
with its hands full.
Hieroglyph heart, etched deep with history’s lists,
things to do. Near-sighted heart. Club-footed heart.”
What does your heart look like today? What did it look like and feel like this morning? What does your heart look like as you lie in bed, waiting for sleep to envelop you? Or, when you pet your cat? Or, weed in your garden? Or watch an old movie? Or listen to your favorite song?
Notice how the shape of your heart changes with everything you do. What form do you most like it to take?