Gravity is the combined weight of our hearts

Gravity is the combined weight of our hearts
Robert Ford

From my stackable plastic bedside chair,
I witness the birth of each hour, and the
thin line of your chest rise and fall like
the laboured heaving of the winter earth.

Pills of rain streak the view out onto a
cheerless, streetlit darkness, while the
mindless, metronomic blip of machinery
tells me the only joke it knows, desperate

not to race to the punchline. Somewhere,
behind the dry-lipped, marble-eyed neutrality
your face has been reduced to, you and
your familiar body must still be at home,

bickering as always, but continuing to
function nonetheless, even if the definition
is stretched right out beyond its unmapped
frontiers. Uniformed staff in various colours

appear and check stuff, offering me a range
of professional smiles to choose from,
while the short, pot-bellied man with the
tie, pager and stethoscope, who stores all

the answers, peels off and pulls up another
chair. He lists your organs, describing their
relative states, his eyes meeting mine then
scampering away. I picture them – liver,

kidneys – falling like crisp leaves into their
approximate locations within a human outline
drawing itself inside my head. A series of
balloons attaches to each one, floating them

off into a sky painted freshly blue; all except
the heart, which stays in place, possibly even
sinking a little, in fact; feeling itself instinctively
pulled towards the very centre of things.

Robert Ford’s poetry has appeared in various print and online publications, including Under the RadarBrittle StarDime Show Review, The Interpreter’s House and San Pedro River Review. More of his work can be found at