guitar185


PAGE FROM A LOST NOTEBOOK

It wasn’t a comic rhyme for someone’s birthday, but a serious poem, my first…

………. … two major classes of cardiac fibrillation,

in praise of my brother—then young and strong—sitting hunkered,

……….  atrial and ventricular—

over a guitar, beside the campfire.……..

……….  the rapid, irregular, and unsynchronized contraction of muscle fibers—

 “Jumbled patterns of sparks rising…

……….  split or inflamed,

 into the lofty nocturnal curtain.”  “Lofty,” I wrote, when “high” would do,

……….  atrial fibrillation, if not controlled…,

“nocturnal,” rather than “night,”…

……….  causes a chaotic rhythm …

 I wanted a frame for the guitar,

……….  of the pulse, the blood pooling in the heart’s upper chambers,

the sublime string sounds, the summer’s end, the sparks that flew

……….  forming clots which can dislodge from the heart and travel to the brain

like crowds of stars.

Sarah White’s most recently published collections are The Unknowing Muse (Dos Madres, 2014) and Wars Don’t Happen Anymore (Deerbrook Editions, 2016). She is co-translator (with Matilda Bruckner and Laurie Shepard) of Songs of the Women Troubadours (Garland, 2000). She writes and paints in New York City.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

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