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what the heart isn't through a process of elimination, LE Francis

The light bleeds green — the tin-glow of heaven

transmuted in a puff of breath; the jailed sighs

of a lioness rattle against the gnash of her teeth;

her eyes are emerald darts, a sure shot to the root

of the universe, hit with a dry crack of cage & bone.

Free this unfaithful heart to spread wide & become

a plateau; smooth the furrows of the earth & invite

the stars to light the blood-dull blades of battle

as they fall away. Shake as you ask if our hearts

have ever been concerned with anything

other than keeping time? Watch your love lean

against the sky & smirk, a callous champion

who pulled three swords from you only to watch

you bleed out. It is love that has ended you, love

has plucked the sun from the sky & tucked it

into his breast pocket to declare us free from

the tyranny of the soul; he says the heart is

a magnet, it is cobalt & Jupiter, it is too big

for the likes of you. Answer in sighs of defeat,

in the roar of the sea, in the rumble of the earth

still as four hellish claws trot, vitriol stalks, insatiable

for the hearth star’s stolen gleam, a jewel in the folds

of his cape; have no heart, only hunger. She is sulfur

& the heart is a star, the heart is a reactor, the heart

is secret fire, & she aches as a pitiful galaxy sings, gravity

working on the strong wall of his chest; the mother

of aurum will open him like a door & swallow, the threads

of the universe dangle from her jaw, & in her consuming,

another sun will rise & another sword will draw.


LE Francis is a recovering arts journalist writing poetry & fiction of varying length from the rainshadow of the Washington Cascades. Find her online at

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