by Melissa Newman-Evans
You sold your heart to the locksmith. Told him anything he found inside
belonged to him. Said the key was too heavy. The mechanism
inside, too loud. You wanted something quiet. Something
that wouldn’t rattle the bars, or scream on rusted hinges
when you pried it open, so you put it on the locksmith’s counter and asked
if he had any suitable replacements. He showed you the birdcage
and its sliding latch. You said, Not enough. Everything would get out.
He showed you a diary with a lock that could be picked with a bobby pin
but your secrets would not fit in the pages. There was a three story dollhouse
with a working front door and lights that filled every room,
but you thought you saw someone else’s picture already over the mantle
and where inside you has ever felt like home?
You told him you tried treating your heart like a jewelry box,
but you were sure that what you kept inside was not worth enough.
You treated your heart like a mousetrap, instead,
and it kept you awake all night with its screaming.
You asked if he had a kennel for a bad dog.
A room for rent with all the windows bricked shut.
A glass bottle that had been filled with letters and lost at sea.
The locksmith says, Love is like a language. If you keep a child from language
they’ll never really understand it. If you kick it every time it cries for kindness,
your heart is never going to think in love. She is never going to mumble it to you
in her sleep. She’s gonna go back to the things she learned as a child,
the native tongue her mother taught her. Your heart has always been
leaving you, but what have you ever done to make her stay?
When have you ever thought of it as more than a place to keep
the worst of your hunger trapped? When have you looked inside
at all of its crushing movement and thought,
You are worth more than this cruelty.
When have you ever thought,
I am. I am.