he r
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hea t

I woke up in the dead of night, and for once it was com­pletely silent. No changes in air pres­sure from the fur­nace caus­ing the duct­work to flex, no rat­tle of my up­stairs neighbor’s fur­nace, no truck rum­bles from 490 or creaks from floor­boards or coughs from some­one smok­ing next door, not even the white noise which I sub­con­sciously tune-out while at work; sounds cur­rently most no­tice­able as I write about last night’s si­lence. So why did I wake up?

I don’t think I woke up be­cause of the si­lence. And in any case it wasn’t as com­pletely silent as I led my­self to be­lieve. Initially, I thought that I was wheez­ing; some­thing that only hap­pens when I’m sleep­ing in a place that has cats. I took a deep breath to test this out, but I was breath­ing easy. Then I re­al­ized that the sound I was hear­ing was my heart­beat. Not just the “What does a heart­beat sound like, Timmy?” sound that Timmy would make if some­one asked Timmy what a heart­beat sounded like, but some­thing al­most preter­nat­u­rally keen. I could hear and feel my blood be­ing pushed into my ven­tri­cles and flow­ing into and outof my veins and ar­ter­ies. A heart­beat sounds noth­ing like what Timmy thinks it sounds like. You don’t hear pauses be­tween the beats, it is al­most like lis­ten­ing to the tides of the sea.

So now I’ve tried an at­tempt at con­crete po­etry and an­other thing.

One thought on “Heartbeat

  1. That is a very dra­matic experience…and well de­scribed.

    I once had to have an ul­tra­sound on my carotid ar­ter­ies. There was an ac­com­pa­ny­ing sound ef­fect that the tech turned up while show­ing me the video of the blood mov­ing.

    It was hum­bling to hear my body work­ing like that. It also was a mo­ment that I re­ally un­der­stood how lit­tle is be­tween me (that mov­ing blood) and noth­ing.

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