Poem: From the Heart’s Diary by S.A. Leavesley

From The Heart’s Diary

i) Her first kiss

I am a Chinese lantern:
lifting, drifting, lifting.

ii) When he dumps Her

No one dares shake me –
I’m a dropped child’s rattle,
and they can’t take the clatter
of hardened tears.

iii) When a best friend betrays Her

I’m a superhero of great might.
Cross swords with Her,
and I’ll wield a tongue
sharper than Elektra’s knives,
strike stronger blows
than Monica Rambeau.

When She fights, I fight.
I repel Her hurts
with my glowing fist,
silver-bladed wings,
lightning flashes and a thunder punch;
we always win.

iv) Learning to protect Her

Imagine I’m a tin of canned meat?
Don’t try to force me open –
my jagged edges
will cut more than just hands.

v) Her wedding day

The beach ball that makes this party,
I bring sport and animation,
vivid eyes and apple cheeks.

Toss, throw or bounce me,
let me float on still water
or splash me from hug to hug.

Remember though, that I must
be re-inflated daily. I’ll echo too
Her Dad’s warning to the groom:

“A single pointed jab will end in
loud hissing and clammy plastic.
If this happens, no second chances.”

vi) Post-birth of Her sons

I’m a loosed kite,
tail trailing.

Pointless trying
to grab the string.

Eyelids closing,
I enjoy the flutters

of brief flight.

vii) During Her mid-life crisis

I am the kennels – lost dogs
brought in daily.

Water and feed them,
they won’t stop yapping
or snapping.

Clean and brush them,
then clip all their claws,

but don’t try to stroke them –
they leave deep teeth marks
on all smooth curves,

even the stone floor
has learned how to bleed.

viii) Growing older together

Sudden sunshine throbs on Her table:
vivid, shockingly risky and brighter
than Her S.A.D. lamp’s clusters
of pale electric lumens.

Sunshine throbs as if someone split
Her ribs apart to pull me out –
Her strongest muscle, pure heart –
then left me in slices

of icy sparkle, slowly melting,
and soaking into the pine.
Each tiny grain swells with my energy;
Her cells plump with warmth.

We won’t speak of what happens
when anything surges too fast,
spills over, bursts through taut surfaces,
leaving empty darkness.

Tomorrow’s damp stain
is as inevitable as night after day,
or the sweet pulse of birdsong
chasing light across the sky.

We focus instead on each
brief moment of sunshine,
my throbbing and life
too bright for Her to hold

without gasping.


S.A. Leavesley is a poet, fiction writer, journalist, photographer and editor, who loves words, dancing and outdoor sport. Her latest poetry collections are How to Grow Matches (Against The Grain Press, 2018) and plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press, 2015).


Our JustGiving page is open for donations to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund – no amount is too small if you feel moved to support.

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