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The Winter of Amateur Cardiology

At this old desk of orange wood striated by dark wavy lines, I think

of electrocardiograms, heartbeats shimmying under my palms in a

white room in winter. A window to my right, gray sky, twitchy bare

branches. In the green of summer, a window full of maple leaves, I

liked to think that I lived in a tree. Now hot water circulates to the

silver radiator, knocks and wetly hisses. A painting hangs above the

desk, to the left. To look at it, I lift and turn my head so my chin is

over my heart. The radiator knocks. In the painting, a girl in a white

dress followed by a white dog walks beside a pond. The dog is in

mid-stride, one front paw a pendulum. Where I live, there is a pond

where the bankside winter grasses seethe in the wind as I run past

them. A red screech owl with a heart-shaped face and white-flecked

wings lives in a tree there. The owl’s feathers match the pattern of

tree bark. The owl can resemble a broken branch, its call a whinny

or trill. I’ve never seen it. I’ve seen the elderly bird watchers at dusk,

whispering, the black wings of their binoculars over their hearts.

from O’NightsFind more by Cecily Parks at the library

Copyright © 2015 Cecily Parks
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Cecily Parks Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.