The Mysterious Human Heart in Texas

by | Issue #6, Issues, Poetry

after Dorianne Laux’s “The Mysterious Human Heart in New York”

Aureate but spurred, the heart straps on her
boots, bears the stickers, stomps away
copperheads to catch her golden hour
dalliance with the bluebonnets before
evening mosquitos eclipse the sun.
Fearless, she greets a coyote with a feral
growl that makes the carnivore’s moon
howl shrivel to a mewl. She bleeds
indigo. Her tongue secretes ginger and citrus
just before she spits whiskey. Ask her to tie a
knot out of a cherry stem, and she’ll
lasso steel strings into submission. When she
meets a man, the twang in her tongue gets twangier,
nestles into the well of her throat, strikes
oil. In Texas, the heart flirts with her spurs and
pines with the ghosts in her guitars. On a
quiet night, she is a brass band of crickets
requesting I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning for the
sixth time at the piano bar. When July hits
Texas, the heart flees the scene, melts to
umber pools just to survive the humidity. A
venom heart doesn’t open like a tulip in spring. It
wades into the bayou, waits for you to abandon
xeric air for the cold slap of ditch water, and when
you’re good and quenched, she takes to your flesh like a
zester to a lemon’s fragile rind.

Kait Quinn (she/her) was born with salt in her wounds. She flushes the sting of living by writing poetry. She is the author of four poetry collections, and her work appears in Reed Magazine, Watershed Review, Chestnut Review, and elsewhere. She received first place in the 2022 John Calvin Rezmerski Memorial Grand Prize. Kait is an Editorial Associate at Yellow Arrow Publishing and a poetry reader for Black Fox Literary Magazine. She enjoys repetition, coffee shops, tattoos, and vegan breakfast. Kait lives in Minneapolis with her partner, their regal cat, and their very polite Aussie mix. Find her at