The Poet Community

First Aid | A Poem by Catherine Howe

As the smiles and sunlight pass before me, encapsulated in stasis on
screen, I am falling. This is not a fall to be prepared for, but sharp and sudden. Shocking.

In clear view, I see myself. It comes to me that I will never have
this. My time has passed, as the past lies dormant, undercutting all. All that I have been and all I have been is shaped by a damaged dream. A broken paradise deep within.

The bride, glowing and warm. The groom, proud and home. Their dreams, fresh and exciting. I stand just outside of this familiar scene, gazing with joy for them and rot for myself.

I will forever remain a stillborn bride, a stagnant wife. First, my
heart was broken. Second, my dreams were broken. Which is worse? I
know the truth. A truth which is now more evident than ever.

With the blindfold peeled away, I can see the truth. My truth.

I keep the blindfold close, in case of emergency. I fold it carefully and store it in my first aid kit. Alongside this are bandages, pain relief and sedatives. There is a needle and thread, crudely packaged, resting on top of an unopened instruction manual. Should I open it?

Hidden in the first aid kit is an old fashioned pack for open heart
surgery. There are implements and tools of all shapes and sizes,
framing the heart itself. The heart which beats quietly, echoing,
taunting: “Take me. Wear me. Use me.” This is his whisper, as he
waits, impatiently and sinister.

I have looked upon this heart before. I even approached it once, with a hesitant finger and thumb. I am closer now. Closer and calmer. This heart is mine.