Hearts forced open

I got an email yesterday afternoon that my dad was in the hospital again. Chest pains at 3 am, rushed to the ER. He knows the signs – the shooting pain down the arm. He’s never had a heart attack before but is so close to jumping on the next stone. 2 more stents totaling 7 and he’s full up. There’s nothing else they can do to force his heart open except surgery. Which we are all preparing for. My cousin, who is like a sister to me and a daughter to my dad, went to visit him in the ICU and sent me a picture of the two of them. I’ve never seen him look so distant before, but she swore he was fully awake just trying to rest. She held an X-ray of the dye shot into his artery – a black vein, a quiet snake.

I wandered down to the wet basement, waited for the spin cycle to settle. The walls were musty and weeping brown. A heart I’ve been quietly trying to close pushed suddenly, expelled and I sobbed poison, sucked air and venom in the few seconds the valves were open. I collected wet laundry, heavy sand bags braced against my body.

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