Today's poem is by Claudia Keelan

First Acts

The woman is alone on the stage

"His eye would trouble me no more...
What was in Poe's heart
That all his tales express the outward
Murder or death of something—

Old men, eyes, Ligeia, hearts, etc—
While the narrator goes quickly crazy himself,
Embodied and disembodied, in the act?

"Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased..."

And no one can tell if it's his
Or the old man's, though it becomes clear—
Nothing becomes clear.

In the 19th century,
People believed that emotions
Came from the heart
But now we know
That they come from the brain—
Emotions, and that helps us to—

Ahab and his whale
Hawthorne and "The Birthmark"
And The Scarlet Letter,
All these signs signifying

The Red Badge of Courage

Every girl loves a coward

Edna swimming out to sea
At the end of The Awakening,
Swimming away from possession,
Swimming into the possession
Of her own heart,
Which drowns her

Copyright © 2014 Claudia Keelan All rights reserved
from O, HEART
Barrow Street Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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