Serenade of a Light About to Leave

My heart broke, and the light inside is peeking through. It was a fledgling incubated by the warmth of bodies. It fed whenever lips touched and drank whenever they smiled.

And now I understand why when I had broken lovers’ hearts they offered me things. Shirts. CDs. Jars of homemade jam. They wanted to make the brightness tangible.

The light a breaking heart sets free isn’t much. One hundred twenty-five grams of raspberry jam is equivalent—according to Einstein’s mass-energy equations—to about a thousandth of a percent of the light the moon emits in a single second. But if you add all the jars of jam and CDs and shirts that are exchanged between lovers leaving and losing, I’m sure we’d have enough for a second moon. It would shine on cribs nestling sleeping babies. On cars parked in the desert. On the frozen tundras where only lichen and moss grow. On deserted alleys and on the roofs of shantyhomes in the poorest areas of the richest countries of the world.

The light of the moon of breaking hearts shines on the nights we share with friends, with sisters and brothers and comrades, who pull out their hearts to show each other the fractured and mending places. We read the scars like lines on a palm. We predict where the next crack will occur. We polish our hearts with beer before tucking them back safely in our chests.

My heart broke today, and the brightness inside will soon grow up and leave on wings of song. But it will teach me the words before it does, and with them, I serenade you.

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