He told me he was picking out paper plates,

checkered tablecloths, and ribs.

He told me he was defibrillated,

then broken, flesh cut,

and his breastbone cracked, spanned

for repair, his heart exposed.


Outside his wife waited,

while surgeons rerouted,

swish, swash, rhythms re-looped.


Gloved hands

nattered and plucked,

split and unstrung—

from the unsung, unspoken


seeded deep, waiting

the next beat.


Cathy Allman‘s work has appeared widely in literary journals, including California Quarterly (CQ), The Cape Rock, Edison Literary Review, Front Range Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Hawaii Pacific Review, Pennsylvania English, Potomac Review, and many others.

Table of Contents | Next Page