Ode to the Heart: Sixteenth Week
"Beyond lithe triceps, bulging biceps,
above taut calves and washboard abs,
unsurpassed by lats and hams
is our mother muscle hustling
blood through her brood of tubes,
muscle by which all other muscles flex.
wafts through the Doppler mike
held against the slight, gelled
swell of your mother’s uterus.
Your body’s first voice
utters a stutter
I have no answer for.
Praise the four-chambered
orchestra playing staccato
sonate da camera in your chest,
percussive as the timpani,
or more so: allegro, vivace, presto—
how would Mozart mark
one hundred sixty sixteenth notes
per sixty seconds? Prestissimo.
We’ll take you home to four small rooms—
one just for you. We’ll paint your name
in bubble letters on the wall, hang balloons
in a corner. Your mother hugging you
to her breast, we’ll step through the door
of our old, asthmatic apartment
with an April wind rushing in behind,
fresh oxygen borne in our blood.