What is a Heart?

By Rachael Ikins



Nose-hair-freezing cold

the night the last full moon

of the year screamed.


No clouds, nothing to soak up

that silver roar.

I went out with the dogs,

half-naked, transfixed I stared that moon in the eye.


I shivered: moon-burn, moon-burn.

I pushed my sleeves up, dropped my pants, yanked my hat off.


Chrysalis that emerges only under full-moon circumstances,

I let that broadcast power overcome me.


Later, (moon-blind), I chase sleep.

Moon burns through curtains’ caul, claws past glass and skin,

bone and blood, hums in my chest


where a small heart caged in white rib, skips.

Struggles to free itself.

For what is a heart?

Throbbing creature,

a star, singing

for home.


Rachael Ikins is a multiple Pushcart nominee, 2018 Independent Book Award winner, and 2019 Vinnie Ream & Faulkner poetry finalist. She is author and illustrator of 9 books, in multiple genres, available on the publishers’ websites. She currently works as Associate Editor at Clare Songbirds Publishing House. Follow her on Facebook (RachaelIkinsPoetryandBooks), Twitter (@nestl493), and Instagram (@poetreeinmoshun). See more of her work in the Ink Sac here and here

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