Get Lit Minute: Rita Dove | "Heart to Heart"

June 22, 2021

In this week's episode of the Get Lit Minute, your weekly poetry podcast, we spotlight American poet and essayist Rita Dove. From 1993 to 1995, she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She is the first African American to have been appointed since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous "consultant in poetry" position

"Heart to Heart"

It’s neither red

nor sweet.

It doesn’t melt

or turn over,

break or harden,

so it can’t feel

pain,

yearning,

regret.

 

It doesn’t have 

a tip to spin on,

it isn’t even

shapely—

just a thick clutch

of muscle,

lopsided,

mute. Still,

I feel it inside

its cage sounding

a dull tattoo:

I want, I want—

 

but I can’t open it:

there’s no key.

I can’t wear it

on my sleeve,

or tell you from

the bottom of it

how I feel. Here,

it’s all yours, now—

but you’ll have

to take me,

too.