Second-Hand Heart

I was never supposed to be
the first one, so I got his.
Perhaps that’s why this heart
never fit me as it should. Always
half a bump behind the beat,
stiff and tight across my chest.
It should have been his,
so it could never be yours,
never really mine to give.
Mine is the hand-me-down heart.
Maybe that’s why these hearts
never meshed, never conjoined
on whatever level hearts
are supposed to. Or I wished
they could.

I wonder if I had my own heart —
Swiss made, custom fit — if
the lives it brushed against
would’ve been different.Probably not.
This one was always supposed
to be good enough. Not like
the hearts in your closets,
all made of silk and flannel,
all soft and smooth, as I wished
mine might be, if I had my own.
Not this awkward, second-hand,
second-place heart they’ll eventually
bury me with. When they do, though,
promise you’ll wear one of your old
pretty ones, even if it’s
an uncomfortable fit.

Mine’s never fit either.

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3 thoughts on “Second-Hand Heart

  1. I finished reading this and I said very loudly, “Dayum!” There is no one here right now but it echoes in here.

    Wow, this is an amazing piece. So intuitive. I probably have no idea the story behind it but it really made an impression on me. It reminds me of something in my life.

  2. This is fabulous, Joseph. I love how your mind works – obviously you have the right brain that fits just perfect in your body. This doesn’t need the story behind it because it says it all in a way that lets me fill in the blanks. Yes.

  3. Sometimes our hearts feel too tight in our chests, sometimes not big enough to hold all we are feeling, sometimes not worthy enough in the presence of those we care about. Love the depth and metaphor in this. So many of us share similar doubts, and yet the only thing we really need do is give of ourselves the best we can, and keep our hearts open to receive in kind. Well captured indeed, Joe.

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