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Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Stunned
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
In his debut collection, The Irresistible In-Between, David Sloan of Brunswick frankly discusses his imperfections, becoming more like us as he does so, and finding his vision in the one life he’s been given. Here, he introduces us to his flawed heart.
Stunned by David Sloan
At ten, nothing beat holding my breath to bursting. In bed with eyes shut, ears plugged, I’d vanish, sink like a diver into bottomless inky waters,and listen below the silence— long pause of a sea god’s breathing— for that surging thrum, shh-dum shh-dum shh-dum shh-dumthose fingers drumming on a hidden hull, steady as a string of bubbles. Later I loped along mountain roads loose-limbed, aqua-lunged, Olympian.At times, when breath and blood converged and beat in perfect two/four time, I floated out of my shoes, sh-dum, sh-dum, made the stretched skin of the sky my ocean.Now I can’t hold a long note without gasping. My tangled heart flops like a fish reeled out of the sea, stunned into stillness between thrashings, bewilderedby its sudden weight and a hard bottom.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2013 David Sloan. Reprinted from The Irresistible In-Between, Deerbrook Editions, 2013, by permission of David Sloan. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.