Joe Ogborn

poem: salute

I held my heart in my hands
and pondered
each purple bruise
and laceration.

My every instinct cries for an end to this
no, hourly pain
now threaded like hurried stitches
into the very fabric of my heart,
an unwelcome virus rewriting the DNA of what I once thought was me.

My every instinct cries: “Not again. No more.”
Reaching for something,
to shield and protect my still beating,
wounded heart.

Armour – that’s available to me.
Self-righteousness martyrdom.

Armour, but at what cost?

In protecting my own heart.
will I not only injure those I love?

I place my heart back inside my chest.
Still fragile,
still soft,
still vulnerable and yes,
still beating.

And I ready myself for the path ahead,
the heartache, the pain,
and the tears.
And for the briefest moment,
I swear I can hear the distant voices
of a great cloud of witnesses:

“For those about to cry, we salute you.”

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