What Survives a Broken Heart
Fear not. What is not real, never was and never will be.
What is real, always was and cannot be destroyed.
She has always been here. She is resting
under the weight of the material, the things
that die, a deer curled under a canopy
of pine boughs no longer green, but pale and crisp;
a holy vagrant sheltered under an overpass
sprayed with faded Bible verse and
love song graffiti.
I understand now. After all this time,
I feel the difference between things that die
and things that stretch beyond the veil,
things that never began because they existed
before language divided atoms into sub-particles
and melodies into shape-notes, and will never end,
because no one knows how to loosen the knots
She is unseen but I feel the tip of Her gentle finger
touch the abyss between my eyebrows,
that place where a womb becomes a portal,
an embryo becomes a lantern,
a placenta becomes a harbor.
This is all to say that I have hidden
inside the cradle of my Third Eye,
for now, for the simple reason that I must
forget that the Alpha and Omega were always
tricksters, a way to distract time from its
preoccupation with meaning,
a tail held inside the throat of a serpent.
The skin that held us is now grey,
and we shall see if we were skin or
if we were blood warming skin
or if we were plasma thickening blood
or if we were the musculature of the heart.
We shall see if we are what halts the
relentless undulation of the tides,
or if we are the moon,
or if we are a dead starfish blanched and
brittle on the beach of an unmapped island.
We shall see if we borrowed our flame
from the core of the earth or a cigarette lighter,
or if we were swallowed by fire.
We shall see if we can grow a new limb.
We shall see if we existed at all.
But that She remains, always, even as we yield to
our inability to transcend the body we
constructed out of illusions, perishable goods,
blanket forts and aluminum foil sabers—
that She remains
is a cool cloth on my forehead.
She, that glowing and ageless child-crone
slumbering in the contours of my Third Eye,
my silence within a howl. She, that part of me
I never gave to you.
Cortney Collins is a poet whose work has been published by South Broadway Ghost Society and 24hr Neon Mag. She has poems forthcoming in the Devil’s Party Press anthology, What Sort of F@*#ery is This? She lives on the Eastern Plains of Colorado with her cat, Pablo.