"Watching a Re-enactment of Dick Cheney's Heart Transplant" by Jennifer Martelli

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Watching a Re-enactment of Dick Cheney’s Heart Transplant

There is that moment, when neither has a heart:

the brain-dead boy lying on the table with his chest cracked open,

the old man with a fist-sized hole who will never know gratitude —

the good heart is handed surgeon to surgeon & hovers,

so there is a moment, much like when Sisyphus gets his stone to the top

of the mountain & stands on the flat land

pushing nothing, doesn’t know what to do with his arms, which won’t lower,

much like that moment just after the last line of cocaine is inhaled, the mirror

licked clean,

& I’d say, I’m OK, I’ve got everything I’d ever need or want.

Even the monotonous rotation of the earth, of small moons around outer planets,

stops, and a window cracks open

letting in a strange thaw in winter. The surgeons plant a purple heart deep in old soil,

& it beats & beats & beats.

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Jennifer Martelli

Jennifer Martelli is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), as well as the chapbook After Bird (Grey Book Press, winner of the open reading in 2016). Her work has appeared or will appear in Verse Daily, The Sonora Review, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), The Sycamore Review, Sugar House, Superstition Review, Thrush, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Her prose and artwork have been published in Five-2-One, The Baltimore Review, and Green Mountains Review. Jennifer has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a poetry editor for The Mom Egg Review.

Headshot: Laurie Swope

Photo Credit: Staff