The Sunday Poem: Denise Weaver Ross.....Three Poems from the Heart Suite

Good morning, Albuquerque! Is that coffee I smell? What can I say but THANK YOU to those who have offered me so many kind words and encouragement as I continue to steer this great galleon that is the DitchRider over the galactic, turbulent and shiny sea that is the blogosphere....

Let's talk a bit about Denise. I like what she's doing here with her poems, and instead of only publishing one poem, I wanted (since these were really short poems) to publish all of them so that you could get a good look at the bigger picture she's giving us with this work. Denise's poems here address, confront and resolve some very real, very human hopes and fears that I think everyone can connect with, while combining candid language and sharp, rhythmic craft with precise attention to emotional detail. A few afternoons ago, I asked Denise what her favourite (yes, I used the British spelling intentionally) thing about Albuquerque is, and she replied that it's "the community of creative and friendly people." I couldn't agree more. Please enjoy these poems.

Rafting the River

You embark at the point when 
you no longer know what to do, 
taking all that you love, allowing 
the current to take you where it will.

You will encounter white water, 
waves, rocks, hazards, substantial drops, 
and severe impacts, risking serious 
injury and death, but oh the ride!



Cerulean Blue

Pain is the blue of hospital gowns,
stripes on a newborn baby blanket.

Pain codes blue with alarms, thunders
with pairs of white sneakers down long
corridors, shivers under navy hospital
covers, waits to hold a baby swollen --
alien with countless wires and tubes.

Pain turns lips from purple to indigo 
in a driveway waiting for sirens to grow
louder than the thundering of my heart.

Pain pulsates in blue fluorescent lights
in the silence of an emergency room
when the monitors have gone still.

Pain is the cerulean blue of summer skies
flowing high and hot above a rose garden.



Heart Transplant

You must prepare yourself 
for the operation. This may take
a long time, and there is no guarantee 
that a donor heart will be found.

Abstinence, therapy, and meditation 
are recommended; avoid drugs and
an excess of alcohol, which will only
make your heart’s problems worse.

If you find a compatible donor heart,
cut in between your ribs, forcing
your ribcage open, leaving your 
damaged heart exposed, but beating.

Connect your circulatory system
to the heart-lung machine; breathe.

Stop your heart.

Slice open the protective pericardium,
and remove your heart, leaving only
the back part of your left atrium.

Trim and reshape the donor heart;
fit the new heart into what remains.

With any luck, your donor heart 
will start beating. Disconnect 
the machine; remember to breathe.
Give yourself time to recover;
take your anti-rejection medication.

You have survived, taken a risk, 
been given a gift; choose joy.


Denise Weaver Ross is an artist and poet living and working in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has recently started to combine the visual art and poetry and has published a book of art and poetry called “Midwest by Northeast by Southwest” and is working on another book of art and poems called "My House of Cards." She has just finished the first section, "The Heart Suite," which uses archetypes from Egyptian tomb paintings, Tarot cards, and her own personal experience, combining them in the structure offered by the suite of hearts of traditional playing cards. She is currently working on second section,  “The Tree Suite,” inspired by her personal experience roaming the woods in the Kettle Moraine area of Wisconsin, combined the club cards and western or Celtic myth.

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 156

Comment by Denise Weaver Ross on June 9, 2013 at 8:20am

Thank you very much indeed!

Comment by Margaret Randall on June 9, 2013 at 8:36am

An interesting suite of poems. Thank you, Rich, for giving us all three, because together they really do say more than the sum of their parts.

Comment by Izquierdo on June 9, 2013 at 11:13am

Life is a lot like a river rafting trip, isn't it? And I just saw mine summarized in the last four short, no-nonsense lines of "Rafting." Thank you, Denise, for helping me remember "The Ride." 

Comment by Denise Weaver Ross on June 9, 2013 at 12:21pm

Thanks Margaret and Izquierdo!

Comment by Rich Boucher on June 9, 2013 at 6:49pm

Margaret, it was my pleasure to do this; I was hoping that people would like that I published the entire trio of poems. It felt important to me that I do this.

Comment by Dee Cohen on June 10, 2013 at 5:01am

Very nice poems that work together well too. Love the interconnected themes of taking chances and finding one's way through pain. Thanks to Denise and Rich too.


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