Heart Rate

Megan O’Rourke

Poetry

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120 beats per minute is what I counted with my forefinger and a 6 second timer.

What I counted when I had made it to the lamppost by the sea.

Make no mistake, I wasn’t running.

Though between fight or flight, my body surely choose the latter option.

The blood had left my stomach, all my fingers, all my toes,

Now cold, cramped and tighter than the Gordian Knot.

I tried the breathing, all the numbers they told me to count in between.

4,8,7.

7,11,7.

But despite the ill worded confidence I had projected once, I felt the world begin to burn.

Fitting it was sunset then, went my thoughts

As I stood there watching the largest of the identical stars drown beneath the waves.

Fitting night time had come then,

Darkening grey and navy lapping at the sky’s edges.

Fitting it would take till dawn for the heart to pound correctly again, for the lungs to hold air in

again, for the knot to be untied-again.

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