Kris Whorton

Even If

In my clavicle, I carry a Barbie and her friends lunchbox,
and an envelope of cocaine a lover gave me in 1984.

I had a heart shaped stone as well, carved from Lapis lazuli,
but the surgeon removed it with a tendon he said

I wouldn’t need. Sometimes my one heart doesn’t seem like
enough. I’ve added hearts as I’ve travelled the world,

hearts from humans—they weren’t using them—
and from dead trees, one from an amphora I found

in a village on Crete, and one I found on a mountain
top in southern Argentina, a stone’s throw from Chile.

In my pocket, I carry all the other nights of my life,
over twenty thousand of them now, a number that fills

me with a dread not unlike a hot rash that appears
first on my feet, blistering and turning my skin purple,

before jumping to my abdomen, my forearms, my
neck. I won’t survive another twenty thousand

which is another kind of dread. Utter darkness keeps
stealing my life. I can’t hold my hearts and feel

my way through the wall of tar even if I tell myself
it is only a waterfall and there is another side. Even if

I tell myself I will find the moon one day. Even if
bumblebees throw gold from their hives. I will count

backwards from twenty thousand until I reach those moons.

Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Kris Whorton has called the South her home since the late 90s. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition at the University of Tennessee. Additionally, she teaches Creative Writing at Hamilton County Jail and works with teens, adults, and mental health members in the community. Her fiction has been published in Driftwood Press, Scarlet Leaf Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry will appear in The Greensboro Review and has appeared in American Muse, Facets-magazine, and Pinball Publishing. Her Creative Non-Fiction has been anthologized. A guest editor for Driftwood Press and Indianola Review, she currently reads for Cheap Imitation.