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Poem-A-Day

Through Poem-a-Day, we present original, previously unpublished poems by our country's most talented poets throughout the week and classic poems on the weekends. 

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Troubled Asset Relief

About this Poem 

“Doctors once thought the heart warmed our bodies by burning blood and so, if we were overheating, if our humors were off-balance, bloodletting was necessary; thus, the employment of leeches or surgeon-barbers with some fantastic tools like the scarificator and the fleam."
Robert Ostrom

Troubled Asset Relief

Robert Ostrom

What you said I shattered was the window
but we both know what you meant. I can’t

recall a single meadow that didn’t slow my pulse.
Though you are far you are on my wing: you

are the sight of an apple in the bathroom
or oils unintended for a wood floor. A fence

ran the length of a field, between two trees
so that, in snow, it looked like stitches

or a fallen rope ladder. Did you know
that three hundred years ago the heart was

a furnace? At this point what else can I do
but follow the precedent I’ve established?

Choose one of the following: at Monticello,
the turnips gave me a toothache, or at Red

Hook, the red bees. Will you laugh if I say, I
beat my heart into a red caul of sentences?

Near the pond I lifted a rock and found life
under it crowded with so many urges. To see

if it’s possible to dig a grave, today I took
a shovel to the field. It is possible and surprisingly

easy to dig a grave! Over coffee, on the phone,
I said to you, it took trillions to prop up

the markets, but what I wanted to say was, I have
beaten my heart into a red caul of sentences.
 

Copyright © 2014 by Robert Ostrom. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2014 by Robert Ostrom. Used with permission of the author.