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 7 months ago
Beautifully made and moving poem. Thank you, Brent.
Edgardo Martinez
8 years 7 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 7 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

Transgender patients “need to know they are welcome and they will not be looked down upon” if they come to Catholic institutions seeking treatment, says Sister Carol Keehan.
Kevin ClarkeJanuary 19, 2018
Francis is the first pope to come to the Amazon region, and he insisted that his first event and major speech of his visit to Peru should be to this place.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 19, 2018
President Donald Trump addresses the 2018 March of Life from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Trump’s video appearance at the march culminates a year of pro-life appointments and administrative actions to limit abortions.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 19, 2018
Pope Francis blesses a woman during his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 9 . (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
You have heard it said, “Who run the world? Girls” (Bey 4:12). But we ask: Who runs the church?
Ashley McKinlessJanuary 19, 2018