Christopher Stein

I sit on a couch, I am my own shrink, I do not shrink
this thing I have gathered to myself like knives
to my magnetic heart, I have conducted electricity
through it too, have built a bomb in my chest
and set it on the side of the road, it blows up beside
unassuming travelers, in the spray of gravel, screams
and screams and screams and screams and screams,
and it is me, and I scream and scream and scream,
it is not the same, it is different every time, it is different

on every psychiatrist’s couch, it is odd, it comes out through the mouth
back up the trachea, distending the throat, popping out
covered up in spit like a hard-won pearl, and so shiny,
my magnetic heart, I place it on the couch, maybe
I can crack it open, it will tell you itself, it will get straight
to the reason I’ve gathered you, you are in concentric rings
around my couch, and your eyes are unseeing marble,
so I tap my heart on the edge of the coffee table, and it splits,

the yolk is gold and knows it can’t get straight
to the reason I gathered you, you are in concentric rings,
and at the center, my heart continues to suck all the sharp things to it,
mindless, heedless of the pain. Someday soon, it will spit them back out.