Shelley’s Heart


September 23, 2019 by The Citron Review

by Willa Schneberg


We talk how easy it is
to jump holding hands,
to die at the same moment,
sprint over the half-window of our high-rise downtown,
crumple on the ground, our eyes open.

Percy Shelley’s fragile craft capsized near Livorno.
His heart in a “furnace of iron” refused to burn.
Mary wrapped her beloved’s broken pump
in a page of his elegy to Keats.

They were together for ten years.
We have more than doubled that.

If you are taken from me I won’t hold your heart
in my cupped hands, swaddled in your words:
Go deeper, equanimity is not the goal.

I caress your Buddha earlobes,
pinch your ass shapeless inside your torn jeans,
hear your voice resonant and sure as a singing bowl,

and in bed, you on your back, my side body and neck
nests into you, as if we would always
fit that way.


Willa Schneberg is a poet, visual artist, curator and psychotherapist. She has five poetry collections including: Box Poems, In The Margins of The World, Oregon Book Award recipient, Storytelling in Cambodia, and her latest volume, Rending the Garment. Poems have appeared in anthologies and literary journals, including: American Poetry Review, Salmagundi, Bellevue Literary Review, and Harpur Palate. She has been a fellow at Yaddo and MacDowell. This summer she was a fellow at the Mudhouse Residency in Crete

One thought on “Shelley’s Heart

  1. Claire J. Keyes says:

    Wonderful poem. Thank you

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