The Tell-Tale Heart

Confinement is part of confinement.
As it is part of worms
to go through the surface
(like death and roots),
confinement starts
at the very moment of impairment.
They say that a few inches underground
it is possible to hear all
the rumors of the world.
That they are just heartbeats, almost imperceptible
that become from one moment to the next
like a desperate pounding.
They say humidity 
is part of the charm,
and that it sometimes suffocates,
like the measured sadness
that comes from the impossibility
of seeing one’s own face
in the mirror.


Copyright © 2023 by Carlos Soto-Román. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 17, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

About this Poem

“Although it takes its name from an Edgar Allan Poe short story about betrayal and crime, this poem speaks more about the self-consciousness that arises during moments of deep reflection, especially those that are not found voluntarily, such as the confinement caused by the quarantines during the pandemic or the involuntary confinement of miners trapped in an underground mine shaft.”
—Carlos Soto-Román