How Does A Heart Break?


How does a heart break?

Is it a glass falling to the ground?

A scatter of shards and

the irredeemable sound

of fractures, too many to repair?

Is it sudden, complete?

Is one left standing

in the circle of glittering pieces

staring at the refracted light,

trembling hands empty, and empty inside?


How does a heart break?

Is it the slow shifting of a fault-line,

a grinding pressure, a bit at a time?

Does it compress and harden

under all the weight?

Collapse in on itself, until a great

seismic shudder of energy

surges and presses out

and throws everything around

into chaos?


How does a heart break?

Is it a stone in a river,

silent and still?

Letting the persistent waters of grief

wash over it, years upon years,

until the river’s tears

have worn away any definition

and it is smooth and unresisting?

Little by little, day by day,

does it give itself away

so there’s nothing left to take anymore?

So it can’t be robbed

by the constant throb

of pain or loss or longing?


How does a heart break?

Is it a glass, a quake, a stone?

Does your heart feel these things?

I know only my own.


Speak Into Silence

Your pain rolls off you
Like the deep rumble of thunder
Across flat, wind-whipped fields.
As I sit across the table from you,
My own heart feels the reverberations.
And if I’ve ever longed for eloquence-
For my words to act as healing balm-
It is now.
But as I look in your eyes
And see the bleak despair,
The tinge of betrayal,
I am struck dumb, mute.
No words of life.
No comfort.
I wish I could speak what you need,
But it’s not my voice you need to hear.
And until He speaks
Gentle and low into your silence,
No other words will help.
So I sit and listen with you,
And together we can wait
Until we hear… something.

NPM: Jack and Joy

Inspired by C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed,” in which he chronicles his own grieving process after losing his wife Joy to cancer.


A grief that feels like fear

The tight fist of a heart

The sudden cold sweat

Short, shallow breaths

And the edginess of being pursued

The awful moment of waking up in the night

And wondering why the world feels so wrong

That confusion then being eclipsed

By the horror of remembering, realization



Colors really are flat

Friends once thought charming really are dull

Conversations that might have been interesting

Are now so much empty, grating air

Full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing

Because when you left,

You took it all with you



It terrifies me to think

I might regress to the

Pitiful creature I was before you

Before I knew what it was

To be loved by you

And what it was to love you

Even now I feel the creeping thought–

“Maybe it won’t be so bad.

See? You almost felt normal for a moment there.”

Not so bad without a beating heart

Without sight or taste

Not so bad to float in a numb haze,

Only periodically pierced by a thousand hot knives



I let myself remember you,

But your face is a blurred smudge

How could it be otherwise?

I saw it from every angle,

Gripped with every possible emotion

One image in memory

Could never capture it

Your eyes– I can’t quite recall the color

Only the feeling

And that alone reduces me

to a whimpering child

NPM: The Sun’s Dawning

How we have fallen from grace!

Our glory has been diminished

but its glimmer remains–

in our ability to love

to sacrifice

to show mercy and compassion.

The fires have been banked,

the coals barely glow amid the ash,

and they will only be rekindled

if they are once again fed

by the Source of all goodness and truth.

Then the flames will be fanned to a roar

and the light of our lost, former glory

will pour out from us

like the sun’s dawning.

NPM: Run

Some days this world makes you want to keep on running

and never stop till you get somewhere better.

The same words endlessly repeated on the nightly news:





Are these the themes of our stories?

It seems so.

Our narratives have become senseless,

and we write them in blood.

Some days the voices of deranged, broken people

are the only ones we can hear

because they’re screaming the loudest and longest

and they punctuate their tirades with explosions.

Must we always harmonize with their cacophony?

God, I’m sick of this song.

Change the station.

Change it all.

When I think of peace

the word feels so hollow

so distant

Where is the peace that was promised?

“My peace I give to you.”

Is it simply inner peace?

I’m sorry, but

a lot of good that does

when the world is on fire.

But then I’m reminded to “look for the helpers,”

to dream of a world where there are

“no more hurting people.”

And despite our own wickedness, that world is coming.

It is a seed planted deep, already growing,

soon to break out of the soil.

And no matter how hard we wish

how loudly we weep

how bitter we become

how vengeful we act

how strongly we pray

we cannot make a plant grow before its time.

We can only wait.

And I know it’s worth waiting for,

but some days I swear

this world makes me want to run.

NPM: The Stringless Violin

The streets of Vienna are gilded with frost
as a gentleman moves through the night.
At first it would seem that the man is quite lost
till a door cracks and spills out some light.

The man whirls around and laughs loudly and clear
then hurries toward the threshold.
He embraces a woman with thick raven hair
who bids him come in from the cold.

The man shakes the snow from his coat and then turns
to find the hearth merrily blazing.
The woman is bustling around the small room
and he can’t keep from furtively gazing.

Her hair is as dark as the day they first met.
Her lips are the color of wine.
Her eyes dance and laugh when they rise to meet his,
and her smile just for him is divine.

Though his fondness and longing seem so evident,
his manner becomes more reserved.
For their history’s filled with unspoken desires,
and through silence their friendship’s preserved.

The woman has noticed his sobering mood,
and with a sad smile she collects
the item he came for, which she had procured,
though it’s nothing like what he expects.

A case lined with velvet, with clasps made of gold
opens to reveal a violin.
Its wood simply glows, but its shortcoming shows
for there’s nothing where strings should have been.

The man looks confused, though the instrument’s fine,
he had thought it would be more arcane.
But the lady still smiles and brushes the neck
of a violin far from mundane.

At her feather-light touch a sonorous note
rings out with a tremor so sweet
and the room fills with music so achingly pure
the enchantment it weaves is complete.

The man’s eyes fill with tears as the notes harmonize
for the music is tender and sad.
It sings of a love unrequited for years,
and a future that cannot be had.

He buries his face in his hands as he sighs,
then feels a light touch on his wrist.
“This song is ours,” the woman reveals,
“It’s the story of all that we’ve missed.”

He kisses her palm, holds it tight to his cheek,
then rises and closes the case.
He moves to the door, turns the knob and looks back
for one final glance at her face.

And as their eyes meet, an affection untempered
passes between, multiplied.
And still to this day, the violin plays
the theme of a love that never died.

NPM: Luna

You once compared me to the moon

Pale, pristine, and alluring

And said you were the earth

and that though technically

I revolved around you

My true allegiance was to the Sun

whose greater force holds all things in motion

You, oh spinning earth, were jealous

Because though I was close to you

I was unreachable

You were more right than you knew

I am the moon

Cold, distant, barren

Always circling

Never approaching

A wary thing

Unsullied only because

I never let anyone in

Not anymore

And at times I wonder

What if I had circled closer

and hung low and full over the horizon

Powerfully present

With no clouds to obscure my face

and no lightyears between your heart and mine

NPM: Into the Inevitable

Something is ending

Something is gone

Haven’t I known it

all along?

Gather round me,

those I love,

one last time

Say we’ll be fine

Give me courage

Lend me strength

Help me hope

that what I feel is not true

that the taste of autumn on my tongue

isn’t really there

That this isn’t the way we end,

the dry curling, the quiet fall of leaves

Make me believe

That we don’t walk forward

Into the inevitable

Tell me this is no goodbye

I won’t believe you

but I will try

NPM: More Love

She twirls the simple gold band on her finger

As she tells their story

Her fingers are gnarled now

like the roots of a strong tree

Her roots run deep and steady

Though her hands tremble slightly

all the time

Yet she smiles as she gazes

at the plain, worn ring

and murmurs, “I love him more every day”

But he’s been gone for thirty years

and all she has are faded polaroids

and memory fragments

and more love every day