Poetry 2013 / Volume 44

Measuring Heart — Lisa Harris

A miracle of temperature and change
when water freezes or reaches
the boiling point—regardless of how it is measured
in Fahrenheit or Celsius or no measure at all—
the change occurs.

Convert and equate
one system to another or choose
instead not to measure at all.
Consider how a frozen heart
closes another heart out,
how a hot heart
melts another at the point of connection

In a moment of who she is
and who she is not,
of who he is
and who he is not,
of what she will do,
and what she will not,
of what he will do
and what he will not,
of what each one desires
and can have and cannot
and can.

Equations shift, shimmer and ripple,
when one side changes and the other
does not—is this an opportunity
or an ugly math trick? A mistake?
An omission? An error? A lie?
A truth with holes too big to mend?
Or a patched fabric to be worn again?

She wants sunglasses, visors, and blinds.
open spaces, vistas and walls of windows.
He wants earplugs, a cap, a mute button
during the commercials. He wants loud
rock and roll, digital sound, and throbbing bull frogs.

Neither of them wants to be blind or deaf.
They reclaim passion in high-speed chases,
in soft and deeper kisses,
when they lock into oneness.

He loves engines and so he measures
her heartbeat in rotations per minute.
He hears her purr and roar.
She loves water and so she measures
his depth in leagues, gallons and waves.

They fine tune engines and race over water
to keep things moving. Their cars go 65 in third gear.
They are each other’s shot of life—
Sweetly bitter and bitter sweet, full of salt, complete.
They stock gallons and cases, cases and gallons
of their love while they make it—
for the scarce times.

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