by Kevin Risner

I’m alone
I’m lying
on my back
TV muted
don’t hear much
except for a thrum
inside of me

a bump
against my sternum

my heart is there
I’m holding my breath
stop the lungs from going

but the heart

keeps at it
I see its twitch
beneath the skin like fingers
pressing up
from blankets

I gape & wonder
there’s really something like that
inside of me
pushing out

I hear myself
without my voice
laugh & reply

hey it’s just me beating
on & on & on
I want you to know
I’m here
just a reminder so you know
I’m doing here
day in & day out
so you could do whatever
the hell you want
hold your breath
but this is part of the deal
it’s the both of us
you’d have to stop
& right now
I don’t want to stop

& it won’t stop

I look calm
lie back a bit longer

know that this is how
it’s always been
the murmurs
that never stop
until they

& I wouldn’t even know
when they did.


Artist: Paul Cristina

Kevin A. Risner is writing instructor and ESL Coordinator at the Cleveland Institute of Art. His work can be found (or will be) online in many journals: most recently The Bookends Review, Last Exit, Indicia, 8 Poems, and Riggwelter. He has two short poetry collections published: My Ear is a Sieve (Bottlecap Press, 2017) and Lucid (The Poetry Annals, 2018).