“Hearts Break All the Time” By Jeanette Powers

 

 

Hearts Break All the Time

I remember the gnarled hands
of my grandfather
working the rotary dial
of the old goldenrod yellow
Ma Bell telephone
calling the hospital
where my grandmother lay
waiting to have her chest cracked
for a double bypass

heartbreak was not new to her

I hung my fingertips
on the tall bureau with the phone
and the lazy susan with her fake pearls
watching him talk and listening
I love you, Helen
I’d never heard him say that before
tears fell down through the stubble of his cheeks
they were the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen

his hand always trembled for a cigarette
and it did then too

they are decades gone now
just like land lines and my youth

the doctor is earnest
reading my genome results
tells me I can’t absorb folic acid
or Vitamin D, my liver is weak
and that no matter how healthy I am
a heart attack is sure

I’ve already had several
I assure her with a smile

she doesn’t laugh
but I’m hoping I’m just like my grandmother.

 

About the Author: Jeanette Powers: poet, painter, philosopher, professional party dancer and working class, anarchist, non-binary queer. Here to be radically peaceful, they are a founding member of Kansas City’s annual small press poetry fest, FountainVerse. Powers is also the brawn behind Stubborn Mule Press. They have seven full length poetry books and have been published often online and  print journals. Find more at jeanettepowers.com and @novel_cliche

 

More By Jeanette Powers:

Reflections in the Windows of Your First Car

Cycles of Grief Go On And On

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