Heart to Heart

By Rita Dove b. 1952 Rita Dove
It's neither red
nor sweet.
It doesn't melt
or turn over,
break or harden,
so it can't feel
pain,
yearning,
regret.

It doesn't have
a tip to spin on,
it isn't even
shapely—
just a thick clutch
of muscle,
lopsided,
mute. Still,
I feel it inside
its cage sounding
a dull tattoo:
I want, I want
but I can't open it:
there's no key.
I can't wear it
on my sleeve,
or tell you from
the bottom of it
how I feel. Here,
it's all yours, now—
but you'll have
to take me,
too.

Rita Dove, “Heart to Heart” from American Smooth. Copyright © 2004 by Rita Dove. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Source: American Smooth (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 2004)

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Poet Rita Dove b. 1952

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Love, Nature, The Body

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

 Rita  Dove

Biography

Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952, the daughter of one of the first black chemists in the tire industry. Dove was encouraged to read widely by her parents, and excelled in school. She was named a Presidential Scholar, one of the top one hundred high-school graduates in the country and attended Miami University in Ohio as a National Merit Scholar. After graduating, Dove received a Fulbright to study at the University of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Nature, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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