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BUTTERFLIES IN MY HEART

 

monarch butterfly


I just saws a monarch butterfly, and it’s not the only one I am likely to see this week. I’ve gone whole summers without seeing a monarch butterfly. This sighting reminded me of a poem inspired by an old friend who has just retired, Grace Paley for a reason I have forgotten at the moment, Chrisse Hynde from  the Pretenders watching the clothes go around,  and Les and Jane who must be the kindest Laundromat owners in the East Interlake.  

 

MY SLIGHTLY DEFECTIVE HEART
for Peter Dueck, Grace Paley,
Les and Jane and Chrissie Hynde

My heart is irregular and incompetent, still it keeps beating
all the time. Arrhythmia is what it’s called, that flutter, 
that irregularity. My friend said “just imagine,
you’re a lucky man, you have a butterfly heart.”

I’m sure his job doesn’t let him use enough metaphors, 
and I enjoy the thought, lightening up. Oh 
so much better to have a butterfly fluttering in my chest.
My heart’s incompetence is the incompetence of my aortic valve.

I swish I swash, my heart sounds like an old washing machine.
Listening, my general practitioner heard the sluice back
using his stethescope. Yes, sir, confirmed the ultrasound. 
Cradling my heart in my hands I urge all this blood

to keep circulating, a deep breath, my life assured
Astride a chair at the East Interlake Klean-All Laundromat. 
I swish, I swash, watchin the clothes go ’round,
beat that.

 

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