The stone in her hand was cold.
I pried off her papery fingers to steal it from her.
The leaves shook a little – enough to stir the air around me.
I smelled dampness and earth, imagining worms and the warmth of decay.

Tucking the stone into my heart,
I ran from this earth.
Prancing into space,
Among the stars who admired my stone.

As the stone grew heavy,
I began to sink.
Away from the stars who were afraid.
Back to earth smaller now

My heart wrapped itself tighter around the piece of rock,
Muscling and flexing.
The pain in my chest pulsated to my fingers
To my toes, gathering in my joints.

My nails couldn’t find the stone
Deep in my heart, hidden.
Frantic, I clawed away at the cage around it
Ripping my heart out in the end.