Anne Marie Rooney

When the heart stalls

You sit in the soup of feel and your good
Muscle starts to hurt, to lunge too thickly
Forward. Through fear you can plump
An art, deplete its endless
Mush so red sticks to blue like a righteous
Map and willing. Replenished, the day plunges
Its sticker in. If you are slick with it it is sticky
Too, dark tack lettering your fingers
In rain. You long for her and do not
Long for her, and a man comes and shows you how
To chain the spokes and in your black and broken
Dress, you do. You singe all smell
In pill. You are popped citrus and lift
Every voice. Around the circle of you your soapy
Body sets its bone. In this shift taking shape there grows
A distance, which is not the same as having meaning and a real
Book. Water drops from somewhere, so a part of you
Spins, folds back into caves. This part is the true
Part and still, you can die from it. Don’t
Belong here, ever.

Anne Marie Rooney is the author of Spitshine, as well as two chapbooks. Her writing has been featured in the Best New Poets and Best American Poetry anthologies. A founding member of Line Assembly, she currently lives in New Orleans, where she works as a teaching artist.