"Beside Herself"  Copyright 2001 Wilfried Gabriel

The Absence of a Heart Leaves an Hourglass Shape

Overnight, she is different.
Now she breathes only sand and salt,
clouds of talcum and dust.
Her chest is a hole
dug in a desert dune.
She inhales to fill it,
exhaling only shadows.
The absence of a heart
leaves an hourglass shape.
It takes so much time
to replace the missing weight.

Tears spent, she ignores thirst.
She doesn't remember food.
She closes tight as a seed,
storing herself for later.
She no longer craves even air.
But, oh—
the possibility of lightning,
like a crack in the purple-black sky,
the sweet chance of rain!
She dreams of flowers
like hundreds of crimson mouths,
parting their lips
among cactus thorns.

Christine Boyka Kluge  copyright 2001
from The Bitter Oleander

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