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Catherine Broadwall


Once, my godmother gave me a box of hearts
that could hang from chains as pendants.

Each one made of different stone: agate,
jasper, quartz. What heart will I wake

up with today? I wonder, an adult now,
laced with flecks of pain. Glinting with veins

marbled with memory. One of the stone hearts
was hematite: a glossy, silver substance

polished as battle armor, heavy as a mace
laid on the ground. I wore this, sometimes,

on difficult days: as a girl, as a teen, as a woman
brimmed with silence, or, other days,

with words. What heart will I wake up
with today? The turbulent ocean of lapis lazuli?

The sunrise blush of carnelian? Or will it be
hematite, the ore that crouches like a dumbbell

in the hutch of my chest? Forgive me, world. This
is all I can be: traipsing through the night

like a Maypole drenched with ribbons, gazing at the
gloaming from this rock where I perch, encircled by

spiraling stream. Breathing in the wind, feeling barely
embodied, anchored by the thrum behind my ribs.

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