there’s a hole in my heart

alex clifford

i cannot chronicle the moment
the scar down my chest began to stretch.

cicatrices: growing milk glow of fibrous
tissue. one day, i will open my sternum

& pull the love from between my ribs,
hand it to the first person i see on the street.

sometimes my mother is afraid that my heart
will up & stop. maybe it will fall

from its pericardial cavity & sit beating
on the pavement. sometimes her skeleton

shakes as though wind is trapped
inside her body & sometimes

i cannot hold her still. sometimes
love leaks from the small

hole in my atrium & into my blood-
stream. i will sink in the cardiologist’s

fish tank. in water the color of piss
catching bacterial bloom on my finger-

tips. my mother will tap the glass
with her index finger. maybe i am

a tetra. oh how they swim
in unbroken ecliptics. tiny fish heart.

how different from the one that sits, still
beating, beating, on the pitted concrete.

ALEX CLIFFORD is a junior at Charleston County School of the Arts. She has won 4 national medals in the  Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, two silver and two gold. She has been published in Best Teen Writing, Southern Florida Poetry Journal, and Rattle's Youth Anthology.