John Tustin

THE HEART BEATS

The heart beats
Like tiny fists on the wall of a padded asylum
In the otherwise silence of the night.
The wind whips outside
And you lie in bed untouched by it,
Kicking off the snake of a bedsheet
That is no longer either warming or cool.

You’re nothing in this moment
But a housewife who sees ghosts that aren’t there
Or a businessman who will call in sick to work tomorrow
Even though your body is well.
You are as infinitesimal as the mysterious itch
That comes to the small of your back
As soon as the lights go out.

Well, it’s beginning to rain now
And there is some thunder in the distance.
The clock becomes nothing
And you can no longer hear the tiny fists in your ears.
Your eyes close and the world becomes just dark enough.
Lightning illuminates the bottles of vitamins that line your nightstand
And, suddenly, the sheets return – warming now and just exactly cool enough.

You sleep.

THERE IS NOT A ROSE LEFT ALIVE

There is not a rose left alive
With the sun dripping blood
Through the running fingers
Of the clouds and onto the
Gardens and streets where
You and I try to live without
Life killing us inside and woe-
Fully dreadfully failing every
Day the blood red roses dead
In the blood dripping orange
Sun as the clouds laugh between
Their angry gray rainy fingers
That allow rays of death to fall
Onto our roses with the subtlety
Of a sun making a compact with
The moon to keep us in our
Perfect and unsurmountable

Misery

And
There is not a rose left alive
Not one

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