Triptych for Topological Heart

By Alice Fulton b. 1952 Alice Fulton

it befalls us. an exchanged glance, reflective spasm.

Is it a fantastically unlaminated question set in flesh
or valentine that wears the air as its apparel?
If you cut a heart from parchment, is it still
a heart? A nontrivial knot, where turns of every gradient
may kiss and tell. Does the vessel have edges?
Or is it all connectedness, an embedding to be stretched
or bent. Imagine being simultaneously alive,
bound in both directions with a bow! Is it diachronic,
a phenomenon that changes over time? Without ardor
theory suffers. That’s why I’m stuck on you with wanton glue, per-
severing, styling something blobbish and macabre
into something pointed, neat. Love is a gift
that springs from an unlit spot. Resin and rue.
Even when I’m in the dark I’m in the dark with you.



say it quivers rather than contracts, fluttery with ruptions.

Doctors call it holiday heart. Valentine’s Day — 
named for a saint whose head is venerated in Rome — 
is also National Organ Donor Day, okay?
Give anatomical dark chocolates infused with true
invariance. With smoked salt pepper and beau-
jolais in a plain brown box embellished with praises
in a romance language in your hand. Please
none cosseted in plush like the stuff inside
a coffin. I’m just praying. Can you find a pulse
or dry needle trigger point? Just saying
this fudge has tears in it. Someone’s been sweating
over this. Listen, Mr. Stethoscope, I’m at the end
of my hope. Still, I’ll grow another
blossom for that blossom-crowned skull.

 

some give vinegar valentines. no pillow words.

Just floppy organ thistleburr. Froot Loops and craft
wire fashioned on a snarky jig: “To My Pocket Prince.”
“By Bitch Possessed.” Tough tits, isn’t it? Some call it a day
marked by commodified flowers, obligation chocolate.
Some live on clinical sprinkles, asking where’s the feast.
The carnelian pin with openwork components
that let you see its self-pleasuring mechanism, storm
hormones, and single pulsing vein. What even is it?
Here’s the thing. A gift cannot be cynical
unless the giver is. I will pay you to test this
for me. Its closets vast with steadfastness at best
at least for me surpass all other closets in the flesh.
I’m sending this from my memory foam head.
Valentines intensify the surface, heart the depths.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2014).

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2014
 Alice  Fulton

Biography

Poet and writer Alice Fulton was born in 1952 and raised in Troy, New York. She earned a BA at Empire State College and an MFA from Cornell University. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Dance Script with Electric Ballerina (1982), which won an Associated Writing Programs Award; Palladium (1986), winner of the National Poetry Series; Powers of Congress (1990; reissued 2001); Sensual Math (1995); Felt: Poems . . .

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