[ When Does the Heart Rest? ] by Taylor Mali
Our Science Teacher asked the question,
and we laughed at the kid who said:
When you sleep?
I raised my hand with what I was sure
was the correct answer –
When you die—
and then put it down quietly
when Angel got it right.
That didn’t seem like enough time to me.
But it was Angel again in the schoolyard
standing up for the heart
when the older kid said the strongest muscle
in the human body was the jaw.
No, it is the heart.
The bully said we should have a contest—
between my jaw and your heart—
and we all laughed because it didn’t seem like a fair fight.
And it still doesn’t.
Because the heart rests and keeps working.
And my money is on Angel
and his heart,
not the bully and his jaw.
And anyone who thinks otherwise
can eat their heart out.
(Excerpted from a collection published in NYC 2009 called The Last Time as We Are, courtesy of writebloody publications)