i was dying,
pared open on the floor, crying the way you do,
when no noise comes out anymore
and your face hurts from the skin being pulled too tight
over bared teeth.
Between silent sobs
i was dying
then i heard
the faint heartbeat, a whisper stroke
i stilled to listen,
right on the second
every monosyllable played precise
and the battle i’d been fighting on the floor
fell away in the space between tick marks
i clung to the sound like the edge of a cliff
something real, but soft
something consistent and true
i pulled open the dresser drawer and found
an old watch
face up beneath the quagmire of things i’d shoved in
but still beating.
And i thought…maybe
maybe if i just focus on
the right on time,
instead of the death within me,
i could calm myself enough to sleep.
i’ve been wearing it now for three days straight
so when i remember my heart is gone
it lends me its own.
i hold it close to my ear
and listen for the next mark, and the next
and in this way i go on
i don’t know what I’ll do when the battery dies.