During my cancer journey, I was able to see my heart on a screen during a test in which I was injected with radioactive dye, so they could trace the first pass of blood through the first chamber of my heart. It was an experience that changed my understanding of heart.
The History of My Heart
It has pumped strong since my first breath. At first it grew like a fish, no limbs, no eyes; just swimming in place while I tried to do what I was told. It knew nothing of where I would lead it or where I would be taken. As I grew, it spread into a red bird whose wings stirred me with a want for impossible things. But wanting, falling, loving, dying and being battered wore me down to life on Earth. Beating in the face of so many abrasions, it only toughened, its cords of muscle eating my heartaches like calisthenics; always whispering in my sleep, "Give me more!"
In my cancer, it grew very still. The doctors thought it was going away or back to where it waited while I was being born. It was only gliding beneath the storm. Now on the other side, it has morphed again. How to say it? I've become a mold hollowed by my sufferings: all to be filled by my heart which has slipped its casing completely, pouring itself into the contours of my being. Now it washes everywhere: behind my eyes, my lips, inside my fingers. Now, wherever you touch me, you touch my heart.
A Question to Walk With: Begin to tell the story of the history of your heart.
For more poetry for the soul, click here.
For more by Mark Nepo, click here.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more