Your Second Heart

First published in Solitary Plover #24, Summer 2016, page 3. Originally written in May 2004. Also featured in the “Ars Poetica: An Intersection of Poetry and Craft” exhibit, with a glassworks interpretation by Constance Ducar, in April and May of 2022 at the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN), 8890 Three Tree Lane NE, Bainbridge Island, Washington, with an artist reception and reading on 29 April 2022 (my artist’s statement and event photos below). See also The Clarinet and “How to Respond to a Haiku,” poems featured in other “Ars Poetica” exhibits.

This is a false beginning

to get your attention.

The poem will start

in just a moment

after you have taken a breath

and centered your attention

not on me or the poem

but yourself

and how the poem

might stitch itself

to your second heart,

the heart that matters to you.

Artist’s Statement

Poet: Michael Dylan Welch

The circumstances of composition for this poem have faded from memory, although I know I wrote the first draft while attending the 2004 Skagit River Poetry Festival in La Conner, Washington, most likely at a workshop during the weekend. The poem began with its deliberate “false start” without my knowing how it might end, very much in a spontaneous mode. I hope the idea of a second heart, whatever matters to you, is open-ended enough to whoever hears the poem. I suspect that all of us, especially artists and writers, have a second heart that pumps a different kind of blood.