Heart Like A Pine Cone by Susana H. Case

After your heart attack, I got into my car,
drove through Pennsylvania,
until a broken gas feed stopped me.
I had tried to outrun death.
Hunting season, men and guns among the trees.
Everywhere, there were glassy-eyed deer
strapped to cars. I regretted that I fled,
but later is always too late. I slipped back
to your semi-attached home, said I loved you,

mouthed the names on your new pill bottles,
promised I’d research them later.
The heart sits in a protective sac, and I built
my pericardium surround instead of Aphrodite’s
magic sash. Slowly, spark
darkened. I took to reading late at night,
mystery books that bored me.

I made fancy meals for your friends,
schooled myself on sauces and organ meats,
all burners lit. Have you ever simmered heart?
How tough the meat is—
some say the heart is shaped like a pine cone,
its woody scales open only in heat.