Chocolate Heart, Valentine’s Day 2018
Unfurling small fingers, loosened with sleep,
I find a fistful of melted chocolate—a heart: heated, sweet.
I am careful. I warm the water, fold the cloth,
and try to clean the cup of your palm
without waking you—
I know what it is to love some small thing too much,
the way the neighbor boy caught fireflies and moths,
the way, when I was your age,
I accidentally clasped that butterfly and realized,
it wouldn’t fly again. When your brother was your age
he came home safe—
but it changed the way that I hear sirens.
I mean I think of children, fallen
and how blood is darker than you’d imagine.
Stillness more still. Each day a rendering,
if you’re lucky, if you’re not—
There isn’t a proper measure for emptiness.
I tell myself the lost weren’t mine
but I scrub your sweet hand and
think of front lines or the heart,
the beating-ness of being.
I kiss the palm that is mine not mine
and you sleep still sound
without the hammered nightmares
of one who has survived
and yet here you are,
Rebecca Brock earned an MFA from Bennington College in 2004. Due to Covid, she is currently on leave from being a flight attendant and instead sorting through distance learning with her two sons, 11 and 15. The house seems to shrink a bit more each day. She lives in Virginia. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, Mothers Always Write, CALYX, MER VOX, & K’in.