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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)

TITLE: The Miracle Cure
By Henry Clemmons


I decided to come out of the closet the week before my husband’s birthday; seven days before his death. He deserved the truth. I owed him that.

“Hey, honey, it’s almost your birthday. What do you want?”

“Such a difficult question. Nothing extravagant or fancy. How about something simple like a functioning heart?”

“For me or you?” He didn’t laugh.

My heart would have been his, if possible. But it wasn’t; thank God for him.

“You know something, Ben; I looked everywhere. Can you believe even Super Mart didn’t have one functioning heart on their shelves?”

“I’m shocked, but they have pickled hearing; go figure.”

If kidding around were love, we would’ve been the happiest couple on earth. But my truth needed more than humor. I wasn’t that funny.

“Aside from a miracle from Heaven, or Super Mart deciding to start stocking functioning hearts, what do you want? I’m serious, Ben; no joking.”

“As much as I hate giving up hope on store stocked organs, I’d have to say my most important need is to know you really love me. If I know that, come what may, I am a happy man.”

His words didn’t surprise me. I’d been an emotional cripple. I could do and do and do, but when it came to romance, I was lost. I had nothing. My birth defect was lack of passion.

Ben, of course, was very passionate. Before his illness he was professor of literature at State University. Sonnets were his love. His favorite era was when the sonnet ruled the pen and heart of the poet. I adored his face when he read poetry, especially ones he penned for me. His words were the beat of his heart. I felt his love. I wanted him to feel that from me.

“Honey, I hate my love is an uncertainty. But before we talk any further I have a confession.”

“Does it have to do with spending every Monday night at the University for the last year?” His smile quivered.

Ben’s intelligence was annoying at times, especially when trying to keep a secret.

“I can’t put anything passed you, big guy, can I?”

“I hoped maybe you were leading a research team on ailments of the heart.”

Ben was great with those lines that could cut both ways. At times I never knew if he was talking about himself or making commentary on me.

“Actually I was, and that’s part of my confession. But selfishly, I was studying my own heart.”

“What did you learn in two semesters of study?”

“That my heart was dead, and I wished it was half alive as yours.”

“Is your heart still dead?”

“No, it feels quite alive today.”

“What was the miracle cure? I might be interested seeing how my heart is flopping like a fish out of water.”

Ben had the prettiest blue eyes; always. Death may have been waging war on his inside, but I could never tell by his eyes. I asked him once how his eyes could look so alive. He said because he was looking at me. I cried.

“The miracle cure for my heart is you. I love you.”

“I know you love me.”

“No you don’t. You don’t have to lie. I was going to wait until your birthday. But I am going to give you your present now.”

“Shall I close my eyes and hold out my hands?”

“No, just listen.”

I didn’t have to read it. The words were a part of me.

“My heart I fear was cast from granite stone,
So cold and hard and difficult to feel,
I know its rocky skin leaves you alone,
A rigid mass impossible to peel.

But come what may, I yearn for you to know,
My love, my Ben, is sparkling bright as stars,
The silence of my heart has got to go,
I want its love to heal abandoned scars.

I don’t know what tomorrow’s bell will toll,
My only goal is living for today,
And knowing that you know I love you so,
From now until the sun sets on our day.

I still leave hope for hearts alive in stores,
But know my love is true for evermore.”

“You wrote that for me?”

“Yes, poetry classes; my real secret. What’s the tear for?”

“I’m a happy man, come what may”

That sonnet was the only poem I ever wrote. My husband loved the era of the sonnet. I loved the era of my Ben.

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This article has been read 723 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/11/11
Sweet tribute.
Bonnie Bowden 02/12/11
What a wonderful "secret" to share. I especially liked the last line.
Kate Oliver Webb 02/14/11
More tears. . .this is such a moving piece, a heartfelt confession and tribute. Great writing, and a great ending.
Gregory Kane02/15/11
What a fantastic opening hook!
Melanie Kerr 02/15/11
A lovely message. Poetry is such a perfcet vehicle to express emotions.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/15/11
So beautiful. I often think it's the man who has a harder time saying heartfelt emotions, but this beautiful story shows that with some willpower and hard work we all can open our heart to those we love.

I feel inadequate in pointing out some red ink in such an excellent piece but I did notice you used passed instead of past.

This is writing at its best. I loved your characters, the dialog was perfect, and the ending was just right.
Lollie Hofer02/15/11
I liked every part of this...the bantering between the couple, her "coming out of the closet", the poem. All of it beautifully written.
Rachel Phelps02/16/11
Your opening line is pure brilliance, and the rest tugged at my heartstrings. Excellent!
Loren T. Lowery02/16/11
You've just gave a new reason for exploring, reading and writing poetry - to find our hearts. Or, is it to awaken them? One of the beauties of poetry is finding what is common between us - and this is surely the bind that ties hearts together, making them as one. As it should be, especially in marriage.
Amanda Brogan02/17/11
How beautifully romantic! I love the paradox of hearts here. This is my favorite line:

"I don’t know what tomorrow’s bell will toll,
My only goal is living for today,
And knowing that you know I love you so,
From now until the sun sets on our day."

Thumbs up and congratulations on your win!

Rachel Phelps02/17/11
Very glad to see this on the EC list! Congratulations!
Melanie Kerr 02/17/11
Congrats on your EC place.
Beth LaBuff 02/17/11
What a great story! What an ending! Congrats (again) :) on your Editor's Choice award!
Margaret Kearley 02/18/11
This is so touching and so beautifully written. I have several favourite lines but won't quote them all. Just lovely. Confratulations on your well deserved placing.