My Next Heart
by Janet McNally
Next time, make my heart paper.
Origami, perhaps: translucent, sharp-cornered,
recyclable. When I’m done, I’ll press it flat
and tuck it inside
a grocery bag. A man will come to the curb
and haul it away.
Look, miracle. No more flesh, no
of rhythm and thump. Just folds
and corners and a knife-edge
crease: a perfect little machine
that does nothing.
liar, you’d never know
what kind of physics
is buzzing inside.
Next time, make my heart
with racing stripes. Stretch it
triangular and I’ll sleep
the flat, soaring sleep of the albatross:
weeks at a time, sun blinking
on and off like a Christmas bulb. Blue dark,
white light, black ocean. I’ll dream
updraft and downdraft and skim
over fog. I’ll know the risks, and I won’t care:
a sailcloth heart might glide away
before I’m done with it. All it takes
is one breath to get it started.
Things can go so far on their own.
This poem originally appeared in the Future issue. For more inspiring stories dealing with the future, check out Apocalypse Then: The Positive Side of Exploring Dystopia and No Great Women Artists: A Lesson to Be Learned.