I wish I could warm my feet on you tonight;
I wish you would take my hands in yours
and ask me why I am always so cold.
I tell you it’s not my fault.
Ropes of red under pale skin,
beating burden buried in ribbed cage,
these things lack heat.
My cold body
doesn’t deny the pump of blood,
but heart is veiled deep
and when hand curls against chest,
the cavern seems hollow.
This is life without living.
Disappointment in survival
leading to dropped eyes
and limp lips.
What’s the point of circulation
without the ability to feel sensation?
What’s the point of catching
the wind if unwinged?
Skin only prickles in the breeze.
A reflex, not a reaction.
Spiteful muscle continues convulsing.
I lack the talent to stop it
as much as the spark to ignite.
You once enveloped me completely;
concealing me safely inside cracked fingers
with a protective embrace.
You shielded me from broken glass and car crash.
Now, my back has toughened
under the beat of sun.
Fossilized casing becomes only shelter,
curdled limbs only protection.
I miss being able to stretch open,
to reach for you, to squeeze back.
I miss the way your hands made mine
seem warm and
“Beating Heart Cadaver” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).