Heart Eater

I memorized this poem in high school. I think about it from time to time. I sometimes wish I could remember the whole thing.

Alice Walker – Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts

Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts

Never offer your heart

to someone who eats hearts

who finds heartmeat

delicious

but not rare

who sucks the juices

drop by drop

and bloody-chinned

grins

like a God.

Never offer your heart

to a heart gravy lover.

Your stewed, overseasoned

heart consumed

he will sop up your grief

with bread

and send it shuttling

from side to side

in his mouth

like bubblegum.

If you find yourself

in love

with a person

who eats hearts

these things

you must do:

Freeze your heart

immediately.

Let him – next time

he examines your chest –

find your heart cold

flinty and unappetizing.

Refrain from kissing

lest he in revenge

dampen the spark

in your soul.

Now,

sail away to Africa

where holy women

await you on the shore –

long having practiced the art

of replacing hearts

with God

and Song.

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