Heart attack (Leah Kaminsky)
I close my eyes, trying to reach my hand down my throat and grab onto my heart, wrench it out of its cage. Little traitor. It settles in, starts to grow daffodils in pots, folds neat piles of washing into baskets, bakes chocolate cakes with sprinkles on top. Then, once it pretends that this is finally home, it slowly gets up, stands on its stubby, little legs, stretches its rubbery arms above its head, yawns lazily and starts to stroll around the house. It points to second-hand bookshelves and peeling paint, to cardboard boxes in the corner, still unpacked. It laughs at piles of unsorted papers that have been carted from place to place.
I want to clutch this dirty heart of mine; scoundrel in my life. Restless chamber of blood; never happy where it is. My heart has set up shop in my brain, roaming around, climbing over ridges of grey matter, staring out from behind my eyes, riding my optic nerves, taking control from behind the empty pupils. It wants to move again, to a different shore; always homeward bound, but never really home.
I breathe deeply, and stick a finger down my throat. Maybe I could vomit up the bastard? Lazy good-for-nothing pump. Crouch over the toilet bowl and let it spill out into the purple disinfectant. I know its tricks. It’ll try to hang on to the insides of my cheeks with all its might, stubborn bugger.
My heart drops to its knees and pleads for mercy. It kisses my tongue with its sticky lips, banging helplessly against the back of my teeth, vacuum-sealing itself against every drop of saliva.
‘It’s over,’ I say, gagging. ‘Get out!’
It lands on the bathroom floor, and then winks at me. It disappears through the doorway, out into the garden and across the street, its fat legs running as fast as they can, heading over to the highway. Off again, in search of yet another home.
Well. Good riddance.
Through the drone of the trucks in the distance, I can hear my heart yelling back at me:
‘Come on. Catch me if you can!’