October 3, 2016 by The Citron Review
by Anna Cabe
After the argument, when wineglass shards littered the floor, and you had already
returned, smelling like whiskey and funeral parlor bouquets, I took your heart from you as you slept. When I cracked your chest open, your warm blood coated my fingers. You mumbled, whimpered, but didn’t awake. Your heartbeat was as fluttery as a chick when I unlocked your heart, rummaged through its detritus. I tossed them out, those photos, those remnants, of people I didn’t recognize, people you loved. A freckled redhead with pigtails, someone arty and edgy and collegiate, that coworker you dated before me whom you confessed, drunkenly, you might have married, mood rings and pressed maple leaves and crayoned valentines. Lunchbox notes from and photographs of your mother, your father, your brother who died in a car wreck a decade ago, whom you mourn every February by crying soundlessly in the shower, while I stand outside the door helpless, my own heart thudding, furious. I removed them all, lipstick kisses, bark carved with “D ❤ L 4ever,”a family Christmas card of the four of you in felt antlers, you throwing up a peace sign. I tossed them in a bag, to be trashed, burned, thrown into the ocean. In your now-empty heart, I put only one thing, a note scribbled the hours you were gone, an incantation, a promise, my magical thinking sealed with blood pricked from my ring finger. I locked your heart, put it back into your chest, sealed you into wholeness. The entire time, you didn’t stir once, your lips parting, releasing only breath. I placed my hand on your chest, feeling its pulse, marking you with your own blood. I waited for dawn to break.
Anna Cabe is a MFA candidate in fiction at Indiana University and the web editor of the Indiana Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Toast, matchbook, Gingerbread House, Reservoir, Racialicious, Cease, Cows, and tiny poetry: macropoetics, among others. She was a 2015 Kore Press Short Fiction Award semifinalist and a finalist for the 2015 Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers.