A Poem to Open Your Heart

Kelli Russell Agodon

Poet Kelli Russell Agodon’s stunning invitation to open our hearts, to be vulnerable with one another, so moved me, I knew I had to share her poem with you as part of our celebration of National Poetry Month. Enjoy! -Roselle

Self Portrait with Reader
by Kelli Russell Agodon

To create is not enough

We must live with our hearts
in our hands--like Mary.

We must hold the blood-
red heart and not be disappointed
when others look away.

This is the simplest way 
to say yes. To say, I am here

giving you what I'm afraid 
will scare you, yet I am 
holding it in my palms.

Disappear if you have to.

Disappear into the cracks
of the world and call it
an earthquake. Fear shakes

itself on us and we decide
how much we can take.

Reader, I want to tell you
the hearts we hold will continue
beating even after we leave here.

Be the statue on the dashboard
traveling hopefully,

even if what you hold
drips onto the floorboard, even
if you have no idea where to go.

Kelli Russell Agodon is a prize-winning poet, writer, and editor 
from the Pacific Northwest. “Self Portrait with Reader” is from the newly released Hourglass Museum published by White Pine Press. She is the co-founder of Two Sylvias Press and was the editor of Crab Creek Review for the last six years.