My Heart Goes Out to You

by Rich Boucher


Sometimes the words we say to each other
have a tendency to float in the air
between us like a bright blue neon outline of a dove,
hung up there and held in place by nothing.

Sometimes I say what I mean to you,
and sometimes, what I say to you means more
than just the words that escape my mouth.

Take all the times when I say
my heart goes out to you,
for example.

When I say my heart goes out to you,
I mean more than just that I can sympathize
with the wounded and frightened fox of your emotions;
I also mean my heart goes out to you literally:
my heart goes out to you; it really does.
It goes out of my chest, softly, with no loss of blood;
it uses its little claws to push open the chalky,
creaking saloon doors of my ribs and it keeps going,
pushing through the skin of my chest
without tearing it or cutting me up like an art project
and it flies slowly forward and away from me,
out to you, out into whatever room I’m standing in
and then it goes through the doors of this house
and it flies slowly over the gray, motionless sidewalk,
stops at the 7-Eleven for a quick cup of coffee to keep it up,
pays the guy behind the counter with exact change
and it keeps going, my heart, as it goes out to you;
it keeps going; it stops to get a check-up at the doctor’s office
at the bustling, busy corner of Wyoming and Constitution Ave
so it can know for sure it’ll be strong enough to have you,
and the doctor listens through a stethoscope so freezing cold
I go ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh right where I am,
still by myself without my heart here in this house,
and then the doctor gives a toothy, thumbs-up grin,
gives my heart a little lime lollipop
and sends it on its way again,
and then, while it’s still on its way out to you,
my heart takes a few rides on the roller coaster at the park
because it got distracted for a half a second and forgot where it was going
but that was only momentary and everything’s okay,
and it’s still on its way, going out to you now, my heart,
going far, going all the way through the town,
wearing an appropriately-sized helmet and obeying all the rules of the road,
stopping when the funny little traffic cop whistles
and going again when the whistling is done, going, going,
gone over a bridge and then through some piney woods
leaving cinnamon-scented, dark red contrails
in the heat mirage wake of its slow, bumblebee-like flight
and it hopes, it hopes that when it gets you
you’ll hold out your hands with love in your blood
and carefully catch it between your palms,
let it flutter its wings and fold them in;
let it settle into place and trust your smell;
that’s me you’ve caught in your hands there.

Careful now.

Don’t make any sudden moves.

My heart goes out to you.

Be careful.

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