Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Heart Is a Foreign Country

Ours is a partial language part pantomime,
part grimy guesswork: adulterated speculation
as to meaning & motivation.

Translated, heart suggests a familiar, universal
device but internal chemistries vary—
though components be the same & not uncommon.

The world owes us nothing. It promises less.
Call it: freedom. Free will. Or Wednesday.


Copyright © 2016 Rangi McNeil. Used with permission of the author.

About this Poem

“Falling in love with a Dane whose English is (almost) perfect but whose heart and temperament are decidedly Danish required me to reevaluate (& recalibrate) what I’d believed to be my exceptional communication skills. This poem articulates a portion of that (at times grueling) process.”
—Rangi McNeil


Rangi McNeil

Rangi McNeil is the author of The Missing (Sheep Meadow Press, 2003) and the chapbook Occasional Poems (The Song Cave, 2015).

Date Published: 2016-02-17

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