Mary Christine Delea


The body is a cage for so many necessary things.
Heart rate slows while we sleep our gentle sleep,
slows while we age—

then stops, the cliché of eternal sleep.

The pulse is trapped under thin wrist skin, recently fattened neck,
and in other places arteries articulate:
jaw, biceps, foot, knee, groin, and even a small area
near the eye where the temporal artery
lies quiet near the body’s surface.

Everything quiet, slow, fattened.
I think, therefore I age.

Not enough plastic or poisons to stop getting old.
We can get the outside to pause
but the gooey insides
continue on like a boring professor
with no sense of 50 minutes.

But the pulse is the thing that can crack a noble heart
and a criminal one just the same.

This internal vibration, turning over
beat by beat, pushing through
bodies as if searching for the rest of the band.
No good pulse goes unused,
years and years of stability, until the body
remakes the song, pulls out the drum solo—its rhythm
no longer necessary—and the pulse slows to dull,
then to exhausted, and finally
to that deplorable curtailment of life we’d felt
in every other body part for years.

© Mary Christine Delea

Mary Christine Delea is a former university professor who now volunteers for various organizations. Recent and upcoming publications include Blood Orange Review, HitchLit, and The Broadkill Review. Her website is; it includes a blog where she posts writing prompts on Sundays and poems she loves on Sundays and Wednesdays.

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