“The Heart” by Michael Patrick McSweeney

In the afternoon we watched an explosion open its jaws
& roar out into the street as legs (old, young, fair, aged,
short ones resting on the shoulders of a father)
pumped forward on the sun-streaked road.
Our eyes rose in confusion--through the smoke,
to the severed hand twitching on the red-stained

Then we ran, knelt by legs
to press our torn shirts to wounds
while sirens cried skyward
like children lost in a crowded room.

In the evening we sit in different rooms--
trying to get comfortable on bar stools--
resting our chins on the warmth of lovers' necks--
letting smoke tendrils rise into the wind
like murky, formless thoughts in our minds--
drinking deep the panicked energy with coffee,
pounding keyboards for soundbites & numbers
& tiny messages of hope & love
in the warmth of our smartphones & hearts.

In the morning we will pick marigolds from our gardens
& lay them in the heart of Boston as the wind rides in
with the energy & life of the sun-lit sea.
We will cradle photos, stroke them through touch-
screens & let our tears pass over with the tides.
But the fire that sought to silence the heart of Boston
can no longer burn us, though it left behind
memories entombed in burnt chunks of concrete.
When the sun rises we'll hear the gathering roar of footsteps
leaving their homes & towers & doorways,
a steady pulse unhindered
by a senseless burst of light & terror.

Michael Patrick McSweeney is an artist and educator from the Boston region. His work has appeared in numerous journals and various regions of the Internet thanks to truly wonderful individuals. He is also the founder and chief financial officer of a used submarine conglomerate, the business website of which can be found at discountsubmarines.wordpress.com, and he hopes you have a great day.