Arrhythmia by Susannah Sheffer

is when the heart’s impulses
become erratic, and this is not
a metaphor, this is just one of the things
that can happen to a body. If in that
syncopation I see a demonstration
of how much can go wrong, that’s just
me wanting to make something of it.
When we talk about the heart we mean
all kinds of things. You meant to tell me
what it’s like to feel such offbeat
fear and how you managed to set it right
with Bach, bananas, sunlight, and
some kind of submission to
the mystery of things. So if I see
in that list some kind of illustration
of how you and I have always tried
to assemble from the vast scatter of the world
a list of what can make a difference —
well, that’s just me doing what I do.
Pointing things out. Because
even before we understood that hearts
could falter in this particular way,
we were already keeping track of ways
to remind them how to do what they know
how to do. So if we sometimes
need to make use of those
reminders now, that would not have to be
a metaphor, just a fact about the heart
and what it takes to keep it steady. Steady on.