POETRY March 6, 2020


But that’s not what my heart is, something
as simple as a knot, a wisp of chain turned
against itself until it will either
break or hold. Both ways,
one or one, still ruined.

Each contraction: a hardening.
That’s the thing to remember,
when you feel it like stone, not grit
but slab, a painful, heavy
hardness taking over,
this is natural, the temporal, this is the work.
This is the work.
This is the

          What you have to know is, it was never
meant to be symmetry. And that beating,
Jesus, have you seen one beating?
Beating blood to every inch of you?
And feeling. Jesus, have you ever seen one
up close? Because it’s—
it’s no perfect shape. It starts out
torqued, from day one, it’s already looking tangled.

Every room convulsing. And uneven.
It’s like when you told me you loved me, but you
rested your eye, that fat orb, against the stretch marks
rippling my breast, instead of my mouth or the iris
or the pupil or even the lid of my eye.
And that was perfect, if grotesque.

If you’ve ever contracted your calf, independent
of motion, and you know how much that hurts,

it’s a wonder we don’t spend every beat
screaming, waiting for the soft release.

But there is no untangle.
Nothing as simple as a knot here.
Just the work of keeping a body blooded.

Leigh Camacho Rourks is a Cuban-American author who lives and works in Central Florida, where she is an Assistant Professor of English and Humanities at Beacon College. She is the recipient of the St. Lawrence Book Award, the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, and the Robert Watson Literary Review Prize. Her fiction, poems, and essays have appeared in a number of journals, including Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, TriQuarterly, December Magazine, and Greensboro Review.