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The Weight of the Heart, a poem by James Green



Consider the physics of the heart:

Pressure and volume in quarter note measure, 

systoles and diastoles obedient to natural order, 

electrified ebb and flood through chambers, 

impulses igniting neurons surging, resting, 

liquifying breath billions of times in a lifetime 

transferring energy (we are told) like a universe, 

like the history of time in miniature.

Consider the weight of the heart: 

Less than a pound, though considerably more 

when aching, incalculable at the point of breaking, 

thus known for its infinite elasticity allowing it 

to harbor sorrows that swell with time 

or play host to spores of rancor that propagate 

like mold in the recesses of a space before  

turning to dark ravenous masses,   

explaining why the Egyptians believed 

in afterlife a heart was weighed against 

a feather, and those souls with hearts heavier 

were given to Ammit to be devoured

and hearts lighter were admitted into 

the eternal bliss of the Fields of A’aru;

The Egyptians understanding (it seems) 

what weighs the heart.

James Green has published four chapbooks of poetry. His most recent, Long Journey Home, was the winner of the 2019 Charles Dickson Chapbook Contest sponsored by the Georgia Poetry Society. His individual poems have appeared in literary magazines in Ireland, the UK, and the USA. James resides in Muncie, Indiana.