Duct Taped Heart

by Nicole Callihan



Sometimes I google “art AND love,” and then I click on “Images” and scroll way, way down until I come to a duct taped heart. I peel at the edges with my thumbnail and make my way in. Usually I find my fifteen-year-old self flung on a bed, crying, having just been dropped off by Chris Howie, the engine of his leaving roaring in the background. I shut the door very quietly because I know, really, that that girl-woman wants to be alone, but when she hears the door click, she howls even louder, howls like a pink-eyed wolf, like a teenager. Once I shut it, I lose her forever. The ceilings are low in my duct taped heart but still I manage to dance. I dance and dance until my husband puts his hand in the small of my back; time to go home, he whispers. And I am there again, sitting in the wet dark center, my arms folded around my knees. If I strain my ears I can hear the little girl me. She is sitting under the padlocked double doors of the elementary school waiting for the sun to rise, after which, she’ll wait for someone with keys to arrive. To pass the time, she sings. I push her hair behind her ear, and I sing, too.

Originally published in This Land, Vol. 5, Issue 9, May 1, 2014.