Spring 2013, Volume 14

Poetry by Anton Frost

in 12 ways

"How do you deal with your heart?"
—M. Scerri

on bad days i take it out somewhere nice,
i eat for two
while it watches the candles burn.  

i do all the drinking. even though it's wine-colored,
and it knows what the evening costs me, it just watches
the tulip of its glass flicker.

sometimes i wrap it up
in dark crepe for an afternoon and let it fall asleep

with the radio buzzing peaceably
between stations,

or i walk it through the park
with it in the crook of my arms,

wandering between bird-sounds,
sitting near the duck-pond.

or i take it to the theater

where it can smell butter
and watch the backs of people's heads
while the movie washes its noisy blue waves over them.

my heart floats
if i let it.

it splashes in the tub
like a dirty child, the small window open,

letting the smell of trees in.

at the bases of waterfalls
(because i carry it through into my dreams)

it floats on its back with its ears underwater
and watches strange birds disappear over enormous, blue-purple trees.

i touch melty chocolate
then touch the creases in my heart.

in the garden i tend to
sit and grieve, pulling up clods of black dirt

tangled with wisps of root.
the vegetables flash their colors

and my heart rests between tomato plants.

i say awful things to it.

i tell it about the seeming accidental nature of things,
about tragedies sponging up blood in the fields.

i get angry in the heat. i grow frustrated
with my body.

i resent its struggles, its temporariness,
that it needs something to refuse,
to press hard against,

that i must find such things.

i cut my own hair, i pull it
away from my head
and shut the scissors over all that's grown

too long.

in the mirror, with my arms lifted over my head,
my heart watches my every move.

whether it is learning from me
or i from it

remains to be seen.

i take my heart into the city,
i let lights shine upon it.

walking down the street,
a stranger's hand touches mine.

my heart thrills.

i play games with my heart.
i wrap it in newspaper and it pretends to be a fish

just caught and brought to the market.

sometimes i rush to the door and burst through it,
singing Sinatra or Jingle Bells

or Blue Moon
on the porch.

my heart laughs at that,
even when it doesn't feel like it.

sometimes my heart grieves.  
it becomes incurable and stares out one window

while i stare out another.
the silence grows longer and longer between beats,

as if we had argued about something
and came to an impasse that could only be broken

with blows.

i drift off in the long periods, then am startled awake
and my heart is glaring at me.

sometimes we both just need to be alone.

i have given its heaviness away too willingly,
trying to make everything easier,

though to be lessened is the greatest difficulty.
its dwelling

is always partial, and its longing
is always for the other side of hills,

the far sides of lakes,
the tops of telegraphic pines.

i learn rhythms from my heart.
i can hear my heart, and it can hear some of what i cannot.

i wear it down to a seashell,
to a quarter-moon,

to a clean, smooth bulb
that has lifted many times off the ground

but has not opened





BIO: Anton Frost's poems have appeared in Verdad, Grasslimb, Third
Wedneday, ditch, and elsewhere. He lives in Michigan.