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My Tender Heart

Molly Tenenbaum

To dough, take
a biscuit cutter:
lift the lid. It's gooey
jelly under.

Pot pie, jam tart,
hot bun's inner butter.
Its evidence is
that I think in syrup and batter.

It's shapeless, abashed,
a dribbled bib.
Loose as the tongue's
unmouthed blob.

From here you can't see
the whole watershed,
or if underground
magma boils blue or red,

or the violin,
though arpeggios weep
from an afterschool house
down the street.

Pends from a stem
in snowdrop fragility:
starry eyes, forget-me-not,
the checkered lily,

and like the starred windshield
of my car, old, that must keep running.
"Sure," says my genius
mechanic, pointing

to his own in the dark
through the shop door,
far older than mine,
and he's kept it roaring

four hundred thousand miles and counting.

Molly Tenenbaum

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