Tell me: where is your sympathetic nervous system

by Heather J. Macpherson

bronchial tubes widen, blood vessels
narrow, the ones pumping and flowing
to your heart—

your heart pumps pumps such rhythmic
unposturing so close to the ground
each chamber a room, a holding cell

suffers the sharp gravel, observes the punc-
tuated arrogance—pump says the right
ventricle from wrong to the right atrium,

an airy portico steeped in ethical doctrines
where oxygen enters the lungs, the unheard
gasp siphoned, the body, your heart—lays still.

Heather J. Macpherson writes from Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Soundings East, Bennington Review, 580 Split, Dr. T J Eckleberg Review, Blueline, and other fine places. She teaches writing at Clark University. You can read more about Heather at