Two Poems by Steven Harz

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Broken heart surgery

Since you are not here,
and haven’t been so in a while,
I am left to take one of our old sheets
and find a spot on the east of the river summer grass
that slopes toward the water
and lay down on my back, close my eyes,
and wait for the dream of us to return.

When I was young and closed my eyes
I would be treated to an internal
kaleidoscope of joy and colors
but now all I see is black and nothing,
as my head take turns dodging
demons and the Holy Ghost.

Once our dream arrives I sneak out a smile
as I watch a replay of all that was good,
but when what went wrong begins to show
I pin the vision down against the ground with my knee
and with a knife made by my grandfather,
wooden handle and burnished blade,
I cut out, with stealth and precision,
the painful memories and many mistakes
before wiping the blade clean against my shirt.

And after I perform this broken heart surgery
I bury the remains by the bank of the Connecticut
with a hope that the tragedy of us will no longer haunt me.
However, I am fully aware, that if given another chance
I would gladly allow you the opportunity
to one day break my slowly healing heart
all over again.

Promise

We sit with a battered blanket,
a bottle, and a pair of paper cups,
talking in the summer shade
of an abandoned lighthouse,
with its long-extinguished beam
aimed at the waves of the bay,
or maybe at our past, and what could have been,
and what was missed.
We discuss how we’ve been
shortchanged by time and circumstance,
having not first met during our youth
when it would have mattered,
and together then we could have stopped,
or at least avoided,
the bruising and bleeding from beginning.
After you leave I stay behind in the Chesapeake dusk,
climb the dusty tower,
with its missing steps and creaking boards,
and once at the top I use all of my force,
a little sweat, and a lot of tears,
and turn the invisible light away from
the water and towards the next time.
Because, less than an hour ago,
I told you that I would find you on the other side,
and I promised.
With a box of wooden matches, I strike them,
head against flint and toss them, one by one,
around the dry wooden floor and wait.
Because I made a promise,
and I want to get there first.

Steven Harz is the author of multiple collections of love stories and is a multi-time winner of The Iron Writer Challenge. Originally from West Virginia, he grew up in Maryland, and now lives in New England. You may recognize these places in his stories. 
His series, “Backroad Love Stories,” covers various topics and moves between stories that, on one end of the spectrum resemble the lyrics of a country love song, to the other end where his words cut into the reader, reminding them of the pain caused by loves gained and lost. 
Steven’s words have been highlighted in in Inwood Indiana Press’ Tracks, The Pangolin Review, Voices 2, Donut Factory, Words+Pictures, Amethyst Review, Ink Monkey Magazine, The Germ, The Voices Project, Pocket Thoughts, and Indigo Rising UK. 

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