Point Of Maximal Impulse Poem by Katie Finley

Point Of Maximal Impulse



Here’s where to palpate the point
Of maximal impulse, a space two fingers by one finger wide:
It pulses at the fifth intercostal space,
At the midclavicular line to the left of the sternum.

Fingers feel what eyes cannot see, feel invisible blood,
And the anatomy of your heart doesn’t seem to fit
The shape of the way you look at me—so tired, as if
You knew where to find it all along. Or maybe as if I was you don’t care to feel it at all.

Here, press hard. Can you feel my heart begging
You to feel me pouring forth from myself?
My point of maximal impulse against your skinless
fingertips that don’t touch blood, invisible or otherwise.

The anatomy of my heart doesn’t seem to fit
The shape of the way blood leaves my chest.
Rivers of me empty into nothingness,
This point dead, this pulse draining into a place where broken
Hearts empty out into, shores of pieces of things no one cared to feel beneath
Fingers at all.

That place—ebb and flow of the heart
like giving up or giving in—
Where one finds the point of maximal impulse.

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