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.


What-what-what-what-what-
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.

Advertisement

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.

Brent Newsom

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
10 years 3 months ago
Beautifully made and moving poem. Thank you, Brent.
Edgardo Martinez
10 years 3 months ago
A beautiful homage to life - in just a few words, the author describes an almost mystical moment. It couldn't be less. Great poem.
SARAH MELICI
9 years 3 months ago
Brought back memories. I love the "four chambered orchestra...." Beautiful, movng...

Advertisement

The latest from america

Pope Francis embraces Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, superior general of the Society of Jesus, during a meeting with editors and staff of the Jesuit-run magazine, La Civilta Cattolica, at the Vatican Feb. 9, 2017. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano, handout)
His critics know Pope Francis "will not change,” said Father Sosa, adding, “In reality, these [attacks] are a way to influence the election of the next pope.”
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 16, 2019
We spend billions each year on avoiding pain through pharmaceuticals or self-medicating through alcohol and drugs. But we must not forget that pain and suffering are not the enemy.
John WesterSeptember 16, 2019
Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia pray during Mass at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, Tenn., on July 24, 2016. Members of religious orders who come from abroad and take a vow of poverty may find it more difficult to remain in the United States. (CNS photo/Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register)
New immigration rules may have serious ramifications for those coming to the U.S. to work as teachers, chaplains or health care workers, writes Sister Sally Duffy of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
Sally Duffy, S.C.September 16, 2019
An altar is adorned with white balloons at a "Mass for the Peace" Aug. 10, 2019, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, one week after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in nearby El Paso, Texas. (CNS photo/Jose Luis Gonzalez, Reuters)
“We need to help our society to see our common humanity—that we are all children of God, meant to live together as brothers and sisters.”
Jim McDermottSeptember 16, 2019