[ Heart Fragments ]


When you touch me I light up into funereal pyre. In the consummation, by char and carbon, brittle is not my name. I tongue flame and soot and singe. Fire to our forests, fuel for restless fires. Fantastical firebrands undergoing scorching metamorphoses. Oh, love, ether.


As a boy I loved pink, the insides of my cheeks where I stored laughter. My tonsil was a bell, churchly. Chimed pinkly every hour. Pink was the Paschal moon, closest to earth on Easter weekend. Jesus hatched from a pastel egg as a bunny with a burning heart, pinker than a flamboyance of flamingos. 


Why does my heart fall into the pit of November, autumnal womb, shriveling fruit plucked from faraway Eden? Where to go but into the darkening and lengthening of shadows. Drawn to diminishing light, the world has never been ours. Rather, only ours to borrow. Reign and capture.


You lost the key to the kingdom for a cigarette. It rained today, then for four seasons. Ashes on ice, shimmer trapped in twilit ochre leaves. Plume curled from your breath, cool vapor and menthol, elemental in-betweens. The horse cannot stand to be beheaded. Its head sings, floats over blossoms and dusted trees.


What it isn’t is what it is. That statement attempts to be wisdom, which it isn’t. Impostor. Not in ideas, but in things, Gertrude Stein said, although I’m surely fiddling. Language is not the subject, named. Concepts vs. objects. Stone is sediment, dust, throw away, wall, heart.


Joseph O. Legaspi is the author of the poetry collections Threshold and Imago and three chapbooks: Postcards; Aviary, Bestiary; and Subways. He co-founded Kundiman (kundiman.org), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature.

[Purchase Issue 24 here.]

[ Heart Fragments ]

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