Instructions on How to Draw a Human Heart by Calvina Liebig


First, draw the veins,

blue and throbbing like strips of lapis lazuli;

the size, a fist— white knuckled,

wrapped like ribbons of crystal and quartz.

The heart is garnet, yawning reds and purples

that stretch like a horizon across

the equator of the chest.  Next, ventricles

open and close around pink agate,

paper lines pulsing with colored chalks.

Obsidian outlines make the shape,

a dark, volcanic black curves and curls

around itself.  Opal atriums pump blood

from inner pockets, like pearlescent envelopes.

Now, valves form at the bottom,

as clear as moonstone traced only by charcoal

fingertips.  A pulmonary artery thrusts

itself upon the page, carnelian colors

fanned in a crossroad.  Last,

an amber aorta, rounded and ticking

allows the whole to thump into an

explosion of starred ruby planes.



Calvina Liebig is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Western Kentucky University. She has a BA in English and a MA in Humanities. She is currently working on a collection of poetry titled The Reformed Pessimist.