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Ode to the Defense Mechanism

Some of the deadpan comes from the flatness,
the feigned all-rightness, the sickening thrum of Kansas,
taking all day to drive through that treelessness.

Inside the hardness of the heart, the numbness
of the heart, there lay a smaller heart,
a splinter in your finger, throbbing and pulsing

so you can see how alive you are. God
what a fenestration the heart is.
What strangers see is frontismatter.

An intro to the highlights as we see them.
All our old loves are still there,
impervious and glass-enclosed. You can tap

on the glass and get a rise out of them
because into each life there must be
a ruler and a grid, a little schadenfreude

so it won't be our hearts breaking.

Ira Sadoff

American Poetry Review

November/December 2013

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