Heart Failure

— Millicent Kellogg

The heart can fail sundry ways.
Often, after six billion beats in
Each year of life, it refuses to hug
Itself even one more time.

Or it can perish by breaking
When labelled unloved, and there are
No more offers to shudder and swoop
In sweet, lusty allegiance.

And if left behind without the matching
Beat of another heart, it may gradually
Forget its rhythm and beg for reunion
In silence and stillness.

This heart,
This soft propeller of
Mind and body
Life and thought
Love and hate
Flesh and fantasy
Perishes easily
In limbo

3 thoughts on “Heart Failure

  1. Such a powerful poem, one of your best! I love the idea of a heartbeat as it ‘hugging itself.’ When we aren’t loved, or aren’t loved enough, yes…we start to stop loving ourselves.

  2. Millicent–I have read your poem three times (not including when I heard you read it at the open mic), and it never fails to move me. I recall your prefacing your oral reading by mentioning that brain dead young Oakland girl being kept alive on machines; I wish her family would read this, and let her go!

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