Congenital Heart Disease

June 30, 2011


My heart is swollen with the
Pulmonary joy of friendship
Threatening to
Rupture and disarm me.

It’s an affliction I am sure
I was born with but
Life’s other busy pumping
Drowned the sound of the systole;

Not helped by a diet of tough
Bran of distance and oats of
On guard. Serial dining which
Hardened arteries and stifled valves

Until an affliction of
Yellow River fever strained
The muscle: mitral and tricuspid
Fluttered in the Sino heat

As the pump’s architect
Changed the diet and prescribed
A dose of rich cream of generosity
Laced heavy with the oil of their humility

After which the arteries have
Been softening with age and
The ventricles have burned with
The heat of exercise

From exposure to the hearts
Of others who beat in time
For me their own generosity,
Compassion and love

And impose a recipe for
Stuffed heart: this seasoning
Being sweeter than sweet
For its mix of youth and sage,

Of wisdom learned and wisdom still
Unforged yet offered up in undeserved
Kindness anyway and
In the blitheness of youth

Naively expecting healing when
The salve is applied. And behold
The seasoning works and my failing
Heart is surprised by joy. And stuffed

Full of friendship, goodness, contentment,
Pleasure, joy and connection. Filled
By an overflowing cup of kindness
Which daily spills out of

The caress of the Creator into the hands
Of kith and kin who reach
In and daily massage my heart into
Its healthy, swollen shape,

Returning it to the heart I was formed with. 


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