Richard Manly Heiman


Chest of Recollection


Your midnight plunge ends crouching, body reassembled as a chiffonier. From your breast

two drawers protrude like oaken ventricles. Your nipples form brass pull knobs stained with

old blood. They yield to a gentle tug. You excavate dim recesses packed full of drunken rage,

dull stabbing adjectives, stiletto verbs and rear view lovers. Nothing is missing.


Your gastric drawer yawns vast and bottomless. You have wallowed in this drawer. Through

the empty hole you see the height from which you fell. You recall a camera obscura from your

childhood. It sat near a cliff top in a glittering city near the sea. Your father took you there. His

heart is in his own portmanteau.


Moving lower you find the drawer of your liver. It sticks but you force it open. It is double, no

triple deep. You have filled up this drawer. With a jeweler’s glass you see accelerants and

incendiaries. Shiny mirrors, medals, certificates and broken toys, all slowly dissolving in

yellow green bile.


Jutting fractured from your pelvis one last drawer confines your incubus self. It reeks of

carrion and sulfur. Clotted effluvia, discarded scented letters, tiny embryos with weakly

fluttering frog hearts line this drawer. Mists rise sighing from its depths and each has an

unbearable voice. Every vapor slices your eyes.


You slam the drawers shut, lock them all with tiny cobalt keys, fling the keys into the outer

darkness. Great black wings grow from your shoulders. You flex and unfurl them. You cannot

linger – time to fly.






Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines on the western slope of the Sierra in Nevada County, California, where there are if not forty, at least twelve shades of green. There are also Cornish pasties to be had; a legacy of brave immigrants who came to work the Mother Lode gold mines in the 19th century. Richard works as a substitute teacher and writes when the kids are at recess or playing on their cell phones. He is in the final days of completing his thesis for an MFA in Writing through Lindenwood U. His work appears in After the Pause, Bop Dead City, Indiana Voice Journal, and elsewhere. He is also a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Richard’s website is www.poetrick.com.