For a nickel, you can take a picture of me
standing just so in front of
a wooden board
with a heart painted on it.
For a dime, you can take a picture with me,
you squatting behind and peeking through
like I’m one of those cardboard cut-outs
of an “Indian Chief” or a unicorn or some other
supposedly mythical creature.
When you offer a quarter, we move to the tent,
dim-lit and dusty, where I sit on the low
quilt-covered bed and pat the space beside me.
You are nervous. â€œWill it hurt? I mean, will it hurt you?â€
I shake my head. â€œIt never hurts. Not anymore.â€
And then I take your hand and guide it up towards
the hole in my chest. You tremble for a second
as you reach through me, wiggle your fingers
around behind my back, disbelieving.
â€œWhere is your heart?â€ you ask.
â€œHow do you live without your heart?â€
I donâ€™t know how to answer, so I say,
â€œItâ€™s amazing the things you can learn to live without.”