The first split, perhaps, occurred in a small hospital room,
where I huddled on a chair, much like Crane’s desert beast,
eating my own heart. The man who put me there remained
outside, removed forever after that. And I grew a new heart.
Our old hearts do not disappear once digested, it turns out.
Rather, they’re reborn in a new beast, a new you, a shadow.
Moments create monsters; it’s that skeletal woman in Martyrs,
stuck in my mind behind me, slinking around wherever I go.
Naked and emaciated, starving, tortured, following forever.
I slide quarters into a vending machine on a cold day, alone,
and struck with a chill, I see her—behind the corner, creeping,
reminding me of something, many things, that certain thing.
My old heart, devoured, hanging black inside those brittle ribs,
beats with the weighty thoughts, angsts, desires, and pains
dating back five years, to the taste of my heart in the hospital.
The woman stares at me, her heart beating, reminding me.
When she grew too familiar to scare me, it happened again:
A moment standing in the kitchen, then sinking to my knees,
crushed and screaming, weak, dry-heaving, barely breathing,
eating my heart whole with both hands, somehow still living.
So she appeared, another woman, another old mangled heart
of mine, cradled between her gray breasts, crawling toward me,
both of them at once or singularly, during those weaker moments,
staring, beating, breathing, seeing, both memories embodied.
I can taste it again, on my tongue, when I see them every so often.
The women who were once me, monsters shaped from memory,
carrying the broken consumed things, those past devoured feelings,
waiting for my red lips, white teeth, fresh blood, new company.