And The Beat Goes On

Pattie Palmer-Baker

Fall 2010 - Volume 14 Number 3

Autumn licks the maple’s outer

Branches where green heaves

With desire for the sunlight smashing

Stained-glass windows with red;

That long-wave extreme of the spectrum a heart pumps,


Red wave after wave. But my heart flutters

Like a weak fist clinching, opening

As wide as a cracked door. Blood backs up, thickening

Into a sticky red-black pool where tiny fists might float.

The doctor’s fear: one will break loose and hurtle

To my brain, punch a black hole that sucks words, moons, worlds.


Only a little dangerous, although.

Not like atrial fibrillation, a serial-killer; pumps

Wild, erratic, erotic. I would die for that beat.

But this heart flutter beats weakly, organizes

Into a saw-toothed pattern; perfect for me, a woman

Clutching her heart for fear of.


I accede to the doctor’s order: an anticoagulant to thin

Syrupy black-cherry blood until watery red races

In my veins, pumping up

Centers in the purple flowers my skin blooms.


A medical warning; my new blood,

High on thinners, might amass

Red until it ‘bleeds out.’

But why should I care? I am seasoned

In autumn. Color-drunk,

I welcome death for a dripping slice of life.
































The Kaiser Permanente National CME Program designates this journal-based CME activity for 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


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