The woman in love with a new heart
didn’t care that it was experimental
or artificial. She was proud to love
its dull clicking under the strange man’s chest.
She took his blood pressure
and temperature, and when none
of the other nurses were watching
she put away her stethoscope and pressed her ear against the bandages.
Reassured by the human warmth of him
she placed her hand in his and wondered
what the color of his eyes would be should they
ever open. Laughing softly she told herself,
"Here's a man I know to have a heart;
I saw it placed inside him." Had he ever been in love,
would he love again? Maybe she would ask him someday,
just now he was hers alone and she decided that his eyes were green.
The nearby clattering of carts and the Head Nurse's bellowing over the intercom
faded from her mind until she could only feel the rise and fall of his chest
the wet bandages clinging to her cheek dank with the scent of ether and iodine
as the warm exhalation of his tropical doldrums parted the bangs of her hair to reveal
his placid eyes, staring back, a green coral reef, churning like taffy before her eyes and
swirling into an abyssal void of darkness within.