Heartstrings, or Something Else

She says she’s not a musician,

But if she drew her bow across my heartstrings,

I know I’d sing a sad kind of love song

And it would be stuck in my head til it filled me up and overflowed my mind and dripped off my eyelashes

And slid down my face to the fake it til you make it smile

That I perfected for Sunday mornings.

At seven years old, I bought my first insurance policy

To keep me safe from hellfire and guarantee that I’d see my dead grandparents again.

I was trained up in the way I should go,

But I’ve always been unsteady on my feet

And church shoes have always hurt.

I rolled my ankle and quieted my joy on that straight and narrow path

And when my eyes fell upon a girl with doe eyes and Geena Davis lips

My heart damn near broke my ribs trying to burst out of my chest.

I dreamed of the depths of her ocean, the altitude of her clouds.

The bends in my knees were a nightmare that nearly broke me.

In fractured thirds, I wanted to know

The Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost,

And her.

And her.

And her

Whatever made her smile stretch across her face

Or what she’d say when she was full

Of anger like Jesus Christ

Turning over tables in the temple

And decrying desecration.

I may have always feared damnation

But if this happy heat I feel near her

Is anything like hellfire

God damn, do I really have to choose?

The music in her hands

And her heart

The way her words sing

To a wretch like me,

My heartstrings hum with the vibration

Now I’m found

Now I’m found

And I’m afraid of what I see.

My eleven year old heart

Wrapped up in rules and what my mother says,

My heartstrings were knotted

In the nicest ribbon,

My one and only heart

A broken gift

For God?

I never told her.

I was sure

That she would never

Sit next to me at church again.


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