by James Lineberger


Look at this, this

petri dish. Here are stem cells


as heart cells. Look. The heart cells

are beating. The cells do not

know the difference. They think they are hearts.


Look at this book of contemporary

poems. See how I flip through them searching. 

For what? For the signs of heart

cells beating. Stem cells do not replicate

into irony cells. Irony cells

replicate themselves. Endlessly. 


Look at this woman

in the nursing home. Note the light in her

eyes. See the older woman

come in to stand by the bed. Listen as she

sings Amazing Grace. Witness, now,

as the light fades away.


Look, here, how this sunflower

has caught on in a gravel drive

but cannot survive, for it has no nutrients

to sustain it. See how

the flower does not mind. The flower blooms,

as the trunk bends over to die.


Look at this, my ancient body. See the scars.

Some of the scars are gifts

from those I’ve known. Some I got

from strangers

who had scars enough

to loan.


See this heart trembling. Touch the wall. Feel how the

blood rushes through

the stent. Put your ear up close. Hear how

it sounds like a waterfall. Listen

to the full voice

singing within of love, love, naught but love.


James Lineberger is a mostly retired playwright and screenwriter. His poetry has appeared in Boulevard; The Cortland Review; The Main Street Rag; UCity Review; Natural Bridge; Pembroke Magazine; Quarter After Eight; Free State Review; Sheila-Na-Gig; B O D Y; and Misfit Magazine.


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