Malcolm Farley

A Little Boy Gets Lost at The Franklin Institute, 1972

It’s as old as I am now, the Giant Heart, “a rite of passage”
the website says, for generations
of Philadelphia children. “BUMP-ump, BUMP-ump,”
it went, audible from more than an exhibit hall
or two away. My own chest answered

in excitement. The model formed a little biomorphic house:
muscled; ruby-red. Inside, stairs took me through each chamber.
I learned about the aorta, the pulmonary vein.
The pounding was so loud, I trembled.

“Tom loves Cindy!” cried a scrawl; “Jim sucks Dick!”
And then, somehow, it ended far too soon.
I felt I knew too little or too much. Like a single cell

of blood, propelled by force beyond my ken,
I ran around to the heart’s front door and entered once again

Malcolm Farley’s poems have appeared in Agni, The New Republic, The American Scholar, and The Paris Review among other journals. He has reviewed books for The New York Times and The Boston Review and won residencies at MacDowell, the CUNY Writers’ Institute, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

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Fall 2021