Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily: Three Poems by Erica Minton Reid, Terry Focht and Debbie Westheimer

Hearts get a bad rap in poetry! Here are three very different poems, by Erica Minton Reid of Northside, by Terry Focht of Burlington, Kentucky and by Debbie Westheimer of Batavia that give the heart the respect it deserves.

Imagine a mouse clinging
to the pendulum of a grand-
father clock. This is my thick-
beating heart, this is its heavy
arc. I have all the sharp love
of a warm towel. I keep time
Do not worry
about what the mouse might
represent. He is a crusty
anxiety, he is one hundred lives
I will not lead. He is the hot little
heft of memory, a handful
of moments. He won’t be pried.
Lord knows I’ve tried.

Erica Minton Reid

Old Heart

Listen to me
Old heart
I hear your declaration

Always with me

Me to be

I hear your secrets
Old heart
Keeper of first loves
Excitement of new adventure

I feel your pain
Old heart
Guardian of heartaches
Deep in dark corners

I hear your voice
Old heart
Quietly beating

Reminding me
You are there

I inhale your rhythm
Old heart

Cadence of my life

Be with me
Until the end
Old friend

Terry Focht

Unintended Consequence

Husband survives
heart attack
an aphrodisiac

Debbie Westheimer

Join us for the Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project Reading on Wednesday, April 26, 7 pm at People’s Liberty, 1805 Elm Street, Over the Rhine


Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. She was Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate from April 2-16-March 2018. Pauletta is author of six poetry collections, Plaindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017; winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award), Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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