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.

Kevin A. Risner

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).

Artist: Paul Cristina