The Night My Heart Stopped

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Copyright by
Nicholas Gordon

The night my heart stopped
I was sleeping with my wife
In a tent at the edge of a wood.
The Earth spun and spun.
Silent, in a cold sweat,
I felt myself going under.
I crawled out of the tent,
Careful not to wake my wife,
And onto a chaise lounge.
Under the spinning stars
My heart started and stopped,
Started and stopped, started . . .
I lay where a path emerged
From the wood, and along the path
Came a large raccoon.
He walked over to me
And raised himself up
Not four feet from my eyes.
We stared at each other
With focused understanding,
Words without words,
Eyes beyond eyes,
A giving and a taking
That stilled my raucous heart.
Satisfied, he lowered
Himself to the ground
And turned toward the wood.
"Thank you, brother," I said,
"Thank you." But he was gone,
Slipped back into darkness.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon. Free for personal or non-commercial use.

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