A Short Good Life

My Heart

This is an ode to my heart.
Thank you for beating whether I think of you or not.
Thank you for your service
even when unacknowledged
even when ignored.
My father’s stopped when he was sixty-five.
My brother’s faltered and was repaired by stents.
This morning I listened to Joseph Goldstein guiding a meditation.
His last words were “relax your heart.”
I can do that. Even though heretofore,
sixty-six years, I never thought to do so.
It’s an excellent idea.
A way to say “thank you, heart.”
You seem strong, heart. Stronger for opening, I’ve come to realize.
Not simply an alternative to closed, but open
with a possibility for opening further—
open without limit.

As a young doctor-in-training I saw pictures of hearts,
held and passed around sample hearts - normal and abnormal, healthy and sick.
I observed in open-heart surgery the beating heart
shocked to stop beating.
And then repaired.
And then shocked again to resume beating.
I was in awe looking at that outward miracle.
No capacity at that time to understand the miracles within.

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