“Offerings to the Gods” by Caitlin Stobie

Do you know how

to spot the heart of a poet?


Well, if you cut it open,

you’ll find

yellowing handwriting

stuck to the ventricles.


If you put it

under a microscope,

you’ll see music sheets

covering the veins –

a larghissimo tempo

written for a broken drum.


Squeeze it,

and blood

the colour of a minor chord

will stain your hands.


But the easiest way to tell

is by noting

that the heart is neither whole

nor halved.


There will be roman numerals

scratched onto scar tissue,

craters and holes dividing

lines by zero.


And all these gaps and cracks

will vary in size

because each one was made

for somebody new:

offerings to gods

who didn’t believe in themselves.

Caitlin Stobie is a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Kent, Canterbury. She was recently longlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and has won the Douglas Livingstone Creative Writing Competition and the Heather Drummond Memorial Prize for Poetry. Her poems and short stories have appeared in various international journals including Flash, uHlanga, The Kalahari Review, Aerodrome and New Coin.

Cover image: public domain.

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