On the wall of the Heart Office there is an embroidery
in patriotic colours, faded since 1905
to pink, cream and baby blue. It reads,
‘I SHOW ME HERE THE EARTH IS.’
It’s a famous phrase, but broken up;
letters apart that should be together,
together that should be apart.
A few metres in front of the work, at a simple desk, sits the Heart Secretary.
She is sorting the beating organs that are her concern, hands stained red with their juices.
Here are two that cling to one another as if seeking to merge into one,
their valves and ventricles becoming inextricable.
They are symbiotic. But the Secretary
coolly assesses their monetary worth;
finds one of them, in this case, lacking -
its mass just shy of the scales -
so sets to with her scalpel, slices through their sinew,
severs them. The first is sent home.
Then she wraps the other heart, still beating, in an application form,
places it with show of care
in a small wooden crate packed with sawdust,
nails it shut, and marks for shipping to a single-occupant apartment
in a foreign city
four thousand miles hence over oceans.