how long can you live without a heart?

it started as a huge piece of oak.
I poured my lost soul upon it,
it turned black.
I ripped my heart out and
nailed it in the center.
I was surprised at how large it was.
I needed to use many nails to keep
it in place.
I used my blood to paint the nails
in hopes of keeping them hidden.
I worried that it would still move,
my heart that is,
so I wrapped it barbed wire, four point.
the wire somehow turned green.
I wanted the whole thing to burn
and keep burning,
never to go out.
I lit a small fire and wrapped it in
tin foil hoping not to burn the heart
itself.
I glued it above my heart with blood
and semen.
I was afraid that if you moved this
giant piece of oak, that your hands
would get lost in my black soul.
I killed a leopard and skinned it,
framing the oak in it’s hide.
I dipped my hands in my blood
to put handprints on my soul
so that you would always know that
it was me and my heart
but my blood was weak and the red ran
out. Grayish handprints were left.

I tried to give this to you on
Valentine’s Day, 19 years ago.
you were silent for only a moment
and said, “it’s really big.”
I told you to take it,
you didn’t.
you said, “it’s too big.”
I threw my heart and soul in the back
of my car, only to drag it around with
me for a generation, watching it decay
before there was nothing left.

I should’ve known better.
you shared a name with my ex-wife.
I should’ve known better
when you had to go back to New York
and we talked all night on the phone.
I had the $900 phone bill that proved it.
I should’ve known better.

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