Heart Jukebox For years I was aware of music coursing through me when I woke at night, some song I know well or only a little playing in me as if from an interior jukebox. I always said I heard those tunes in my head, but this morning at 4 a.m., lying awake feeling that most beautiful song from West Side Story, “Somewhere,” take complete hold of me with unutterable sweetness — Hold my hand and we’re halfway there — I knew I’d had it wrong, that instead it was my physical heart like some bird with a vast repertoire taken up residence in my chest, from which the song was pulsing in rapturous waves, as would others, many others, day and night without pause, always singing, whether or not I was listening, the song that is my life.
Thomas R. Smith lives in western Wisconsin and teaches at the Loft literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His most recent books are Medicine Year (Paris Morning Publications) and Poetry on the Side of Nature: Writing the Nature Poem as an Act of Survival (Red Dragonfly Press). He posts poems and blogs at www.thomasrsmithpoet.com.