Not Just on my Sleeve

Someone said to me today
your heart is in your hand
referring no doubt
to lines chock-full of pathos
calculated to pluck the reader’s heartstrings.

That sounds cold, perhaps.

But truly, every sweet emotion
that brings forth words to make you weep
dies a little in the telling
in the scribbling
in the writing
so there’s little heart left to it in the end.


Perhaps it may bring comfort
to the gentle reader
offended by my cynic tone and hardened heart
to reflect upon the need
to squeeze pain into story
to dry an ocean with a welling pen.

For he was right, after all.

Whatever may be left
by the time you read these scribblings
for a moment
freely offered
my heart was in my hand.


M.A. Mohanraj
February 19, 1993

(for Ralph Cherubini)