BY: Tina SchumanN

That is what the x-ray said;
white script, bottom-left.
              It proclaimed you to be
of normal size. A neutral
designation – plebian, somehow
a disappointment. A less than
stellar organ, pedestrian
              at best.
Is your chamber a conventional shade
of red? Your rhythms all too consistent?
              Do you sit on the porch
                           of a shotgun shack
in some backwater town
              no one’s ever heard of,
living out your marginal life, never marrying,
longing for the boy next door?
              Or did you know better
than to pine for what is unattainable
              to the merely mediocre?
Do you count out your habitual days?
              Water the plants in the atrium?
Absentmindedly dust the aorta?
              I hear you pulsing
in the common room we share,
              pumping up for another day, pounding
another nail into the ventricle wall.
              I’ll give you this; you are positively pulmonary
in your duties, as only the normal can be.

Tina Schumann is a Pushcart nominated poet and the author of three poetry collections, Praising the Paradox (Red Hen Press, 2019) which was a finalist in the National Poetry Series and Four Way Books Intro Prize, Requiem. A Patrimony of Fugues (Diode Editions, 2017) which won the Diode Editions Chapbook Contest, and As If (Parlor City Press, 2010) which was awarded the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize. She is editor of the IPPY-award winning anthology Two Countries. U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen, 2017). Her work received the 2009 American Poet Prize from The American Poetry Journal, finalist status in the annual poetry contest, as well as honorable mention in The Atlantic. She is a poetry editor with Wandering Aengus Press, and a graduate of the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Her poems have appeared widely in publications and anthologies since 1999, including The American Journal of Poetry, Ascent, Cimarron Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Nimrod, Parabola, Palabra, Poetry Daily, Poemeleon, Rattle, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine.