The Conjured Heart Exposed….

stretched throbbing
with blood and love
cannot be sent back
like a porridge swimming
in too much cream.

For all the frantic pounding
of two hearts, surging blood
fails, clots, cools,
and memory remains like
bloody bootprints in the snow
backtracked to the kill site.

The way the light
smears shadows on the crags
of these mountains stirs
anew the beating of my heart,
at every glance,
this that same wounded heart,
but also different.

I am made of eager hearts,
pumping and thudding and
bursting and withering,
for love, for joy,
for the sublime randomness
of the world,

like a room full of clocks
of every imaginable size,
ticking and clicking,
winding down, some long forgotten,
choked with dust and

We expect the same tiny key
to wind them all,
one short little word of power,
sometimes drawn out long and slow
like a breath on a trembling ear,
or barked, spat, like a curse,
that this is how it is.

Hearts have
a long list
of responsibilities,
and some,
so easily abandoned.


Chris La Tray is a Métis writer and storyteller. His first book, One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays From the World At Large (2018, Riverfeet Press) won the 2018 Montana Book Award and a 2019 High Plains Book Award. His next book, Becoming Little Shell, will be published by Milkweed Editions in Spring 2022. Chris is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and lives near Missoula, Montana.



One-Sentence Journal:
Short Poems and Essays From the World At Large
by Chris La Tray