Listening to his Heart

by Shawn Allen

He lay in bed and listened to his heart racing, trying to tear itself apart. Like the hooves of some mad beast, it clattered and pounded on the walls of his chest, seeking escape. Oddly, there was no pain; merely a dull ache.

He felt detached from it; an observer. He noticed the twitching of his foot, which could not keep up the frantic pace. He felt his breath go in and out, in and out without concern.

Faces, regrets and desires floated up from somewhere, then receded. These, too, had no real attachment.

A thought – perhaps he should go to hospital? – intruded, only to become lost in the staccato roar in his ears.

He knew it was nothing doctors could fix.

He felt balanced on the sharp point where worlds are created and destroyed. It felt to good somehow to sit on that cusp, to experience that pure love of the creative instant: that moment like death, or orgasm.

The mind and the soul waged their war, and he watched, unsure and uncaring which side would win. Like a historian, he was there only to record the bloody battle waged. The victor would decide whether to go ahead and risk pain and glory, or to move deep inside and hide.

The mind screamed, “This can never be.”

The soul replying, “…and it already is.”

So he simply lay there listening to the insane rhythm of muscle and blood as his heart sought to tear itself, and his worlds, to shreds.