An Anthology of Poetry and Medicine

The Mechanics of Love

by Victoria Gatehouse

It ticks me to sleep,
the titanium valve in your heart,
so close, my lips could press
a gleam down the horizontal scar
where they opened you up,
hooked cannulised veins
to the heart-lung machine.
This room of ours, all soft
darkness until a car passes;
in the place where curtains
don’t quite meet, a spill
of light, making me think
of that imperfect seal,
how blood streaked back
from ventricle to atrium,
more turbulent with every year.
Now, the deep red
chambers of your heart, secured
against the leak and tonight,
every night, in that pause
between beats –
titanium, titanium,
for its strength, durability,
its resistance to corrosion,
for this love, for those two
shining leaflets
clicking in their frame,
hinging on it.


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