EKG

We’re together in the kitchen when you say
you talked to your new doctor,
the one who ordered up an EKG
because he said he’d heard a skip, a stutter.

Most likely it’s within a normal range.
What’s normal in our undercover pumps?
Part mystery fist, blossom, cage?
Once I saw a tattooed heart clumped

on a woman’s bare back: not a valentine
but a thick muscle in full spurt,
aortic wad inked in red and blue lines.
She said she loved our corporeal hearts,

the beauty in anatomy. Anyway,
you tell me, my doctor scanned the blips
and says I’m fine. Let’s look, I say.
So you hoist your shirt up from your hips,

I place a palm curved to fit
among your soft gray curling furze,
spider fingers scrying for a tidal beat.
Why had I never sensed a miss

when I so love to lie with you,
nest my palm to feel the thump there?
I touch it now, rueful with what I know:
ways I thought I could protect, repair—

mistaken. But a new grasp of lubadub:
all unnoticed, our deep rhythms change,
and in what we claim as Hub of Love
imperfect is our normal range.

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Cathie Desjardins is a lifelong literacy teacher who has worked with all ages, from kindergarten to seniors and graduate students. She has published two books of poems, Buddha in the Garden and With Child, and is poet laureate emerita of Arlington, MA.

About the Poem

“The poem grew from a recent true experience. I don’t usually write poems using meter and slant rhyme, but I wanted the poem to carry a rhythm like a heartbeat.”

Comments

7 thoughts on “EKG”

  1. For some odd reason, this poem reminded me of a quote I used when I taught physical diagnosis to med students:

    Stopped.
    – Joseph Henry Green, M.D. (last word, while taking his pulse) (1791-1863)

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Call for Entries

Pulse Writing Contest

"On Being Different"