Troy Jollimore


It all began to make sense
when the doctors told me
that I had two hearts.

One fatty and red,
as frequently pictured,
thumping its bloody,
greasy way
through the life I’d chosen,
loving it, loving it all,
loving it all to death.

The other, ghastly and pale,
a ghost orchid
lurking in the fetid barrens, 
an interior field 
I’d cordoned off 
and walked away from
sadly, wearily,
some years ago.

Pining away
for the lovers not chosen,
the towns abandoned 
to biography,
the apartment that I
wandered past each day
that might have been my home.

At night they wailed 
and groaned to each other 
like the last of their species,
separated by oceans.

Sometimes they were playful,
flirting and frisking
like puppies. But other days
found them quiet,
wary as prizefighters,
each in its corner,
nursing its private wounds.

There was the year when one 
lived inside the other. 
But the larger heart 
had no windows. The smaller one 
couldn’t see out. In November,

when the air turned stale, 
they told me they were separating.

When it finally became
I asked the doctors
to take one out.
We’ll have to abort it
to remove it, they said,
and without a thought
I answered

let it die

They let me see it after,
slumped like a jellyfish
on a tin serving dish.

But it didn’t take.
In the long night
I can still feel it, now
even more a ghost,
tingling with each beat, 
this phantom heart 
that will not let go 
of its claim on life, 
its claim on my life.

And though it has taken
years, I have come
to terms with it,
this clock of flesh,
and if, as they tell me,
I love too much,
I have learned to love loving too much,

learned to love
the uncorrected rhythm
of two hearts beating
each in its own time

learned to love
the too much of this longing life,
the whispered I call,
its mate’s I hear