Campbell McGrath

(1962 - / Chicago, Illinois)

The Human Heart


We construct it from tin and ambergris and clay,
ochre, graph paper, a funnel
of ghosts, whirlpool
in a downspout full of midsummer rain.

It is, for all its freedom and obstinence,
an artifact of human agency
in its maverick intricacy
its chaos reflected in earthly circumstance,

its appetites mirrored by a hungry world
like the lights of the casino
in the coyote’s eye. Old
as the odor of almonds in the hills around Solano,

filigreed and chancelled with the flavor of blood oranges,
fashioned from moonlight,
yarn, nacre, cordite,
shaped and assembled valve by valve, flange by flange,

and finished with the carnal fire of interstellar dust.
We build the human heart
and lock it in its chest
and hope that what we have made can save us.

Submitted: Friday, March 09, 2012

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