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.
Copyright 2005 by Lee Briccetti, from Day Mark. Reprinted with permission from Four Way Books. All rights reserved.
Lee Briccetti recieved a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop. She is the author of Blue Guide (Four Way Books 2018) and Day Mark (Four Way Books 2005). The recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Briccetti has been awarded residencies at MacDowell, The Millay Colony, and the American Academy in Rome. She is the Executive Director of Poets House, a national poetry library and literary center in New York City.
Date Published: 2005-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/sacred-heart