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A Heart

My heart is not a lacy valentine.
It is an anatomic pump
Engineered evolution
Strong walls of long runs
The steady consistency of beating soles
Beating ventricles
Chasing beating atria

My heart is not a pink icon on a screen
It is alive. Muscle. Cells.
Blood, that pulses thick and viscous
Tethered to the blue veins in my wrists

My heart is not a doodle above an i
It is a three dimensional thing
That knows time and space
Transversely. Sagittally. Coronally.
Cradled by gentle curve of the aortic arch

Don’t think you can reach it
It has grown up inside a sturdy cage
Flanked by intercostal muscles. Cartilage.
And a thick line of medieval vertebrae

Oh it is comfortable there. It belongs there.
Inside its pericardial hammock
Dangling just deep
To the pendent around my neck

And yet.
The body bares more than one Achilles heel
That I neglected to remember
While studying flashcards of origins
And insertions

And maybe you can’t touch my heart
But you can see it’s impression
At the point of maximal impulse

And maybe you can’t hold it
But you can hear it
In a quiet room
If I stand still just so
If I trust you just so
If I let you place your ear, just so.

And now, I am left confused.
How to fit love within the borders of anatomy?

Poetry Thursdays is an initiative that highlights poems by medical students and physicians. If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact our editors.



Hillary Mullan Hillary Mullan (4 Posts)


University of Massachusetts Medical School

Hillary is a member of the MD Class of 2020 at University of Massachusetts. She received her BA in Neuroscience from Oberlin College and is interested in the intersection of art and medicine. In addition to writing, she also enjoys creating medically inspired paper art and has had pieces published in "Intima" and "Pulse."