Sacred Heart

Even as a girl I knew the heart was not a valentine;
it was wet, like a leopard frog on a lily pad,
had long tube roots

anchoring it in place.
And smaller roots like lupine and marigold
and bleeding hearts’ roots I traced with my finger

while transplanting in the garden.
Jesus had a thousand bloody hearts
planted in our flowerbeds beneath pink flowers;

they could see us through the ground.
I had a book about a girl who lived in the earth
near the tree roots, who cut off her finger

and used it as a key.  I wondered if I could love like that.
I studied the painting of His chest peeled back
to show light around the Sacred Heart.

And in the bedroom at my grandmother’s where I slept
against the trees, I was the spirit 
inside the room’s heart, my life inside me,

something that could leave through the window quietly.
I heard the fibrous closing and closing
inside my body and prayed to stay alive.