J. Rogan Kelly

The Exploding Heart Technique

When no one was looking, not even you,
she hit you with a dim mak, a touch of death, or
(don’t laugh) the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.

The dry cleaner assumes you are still a couple.
At the pizza place, the owner makes a point, still,
to ask, how is your wife?

Since she thought she would be better
without you, and she is, still, matter of fact, without you,
you consider it
efficient to say, she is well.

You know what they say, let go, move on, make peace with yourself,

but she must have felt something like love, once,
to have killed you.

You try to walk it off. Quietly, seek treatment
in the form of dating or therapy or
joining a shuffle board club while on a cruise for seniors,
which you thought to be for singles,
because the touch of death makes you misread
stuff like that.

Ever since you’ve been dying your life has gotten interesting.
And you wonder if it is your exploding heart’s intent
to love her straight through to your end.


J. Rogan Kelly is a writer and an educator, including a former D.C. speech writer and special education teacher. He serves as Associate Publisher with Serving House Books.