Produced by Dennis Camire

This week’s poem is by Jim Donnelly of Westbrook.

 

Harvesting Hearts . . .

(For Dennis Camire and Dave Moreau)

By Jim Donnelly

 

I’m harvesting hearts

 

at the all night gas and variety

and the dearth, despite the well-stocked shelves

 

of that thing most vital

we need for ourselves

our humanity

 

A Pavlovian bell at the entryway

 

the shadowy clerk hunkers down

with the snow squall and spray

and I greet my cultural kin

as another unfortunate

sidles in

 

The greying pony-tailed woman

 

cigarette-prone, poorly-paid

who like a young coquette nearly curtseys

thinking she’s in my way

pulling the bargain beer

from the display

Or the man in the backless slippers

his heels beet red from the cold

his shirt lopsidedly buttoned

a frayed fur-collared coat

we lock eyes for a moment

and something is summoned

up from the heart

and lodged in the throat

 

Or the bent frail woman with a kitten

 

(of all things)

telling me he’ll wail in her absence

so she brings him along

lest in her head is his sorrowful song

letting him wander the aisles

picking him up to blow

warm breath on his paws

shielding him in the folds

of her mackinaw

 

The clerk and I banter

 

after each straggler departs

with the last of his teeth he smiles

(he too has harvested hearts)

as the bell chime rings my exit

 

I make out their three silhouettes

figures in a snow globe

dim to what a child would see

the gas pumps, the road

the variety

a soft, suspended panoply

 

Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]


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