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.
8 years 5 months ago
Beautifully made and moving poem. Thank you, Brent.
Edgardo Martinez
8 years 5 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
7 years 5 months ago
Brought back memories. I love the "four chambered orchestra...." Beautiful, movng...

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

James Comey is perhaps a better Niebuhrian than Niebuhr himself.
Drew Christiansen, S.J.November 20, 2017
“Not everything that is technically possible or feasible is therefore ethically acceptable.”
Gerard O’ConnellNovember 20, 2017
I have been trying with all my heart—with all my mind, with all my soul, to live peaceably with a terror that has been grafted onto me.
Robert I. CraigNovember 20, 2017
Image: iStock, (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA) Composite: America
What ought to be the Ignatian contribution to the fight for racial justice, given our mission and our values?
Bryan N. MassingaleNovember 20, 2017