Ectopia Cordis

What is the medical name?
What did the mother feel when the midwife fell
quiet—whispered Call an ambulance to the doula?

It’s a soft expression for a terrible condition
Heart on Sleeve.

Tyger print, trumpet flare, and chiffon,
it once caught fire over a candle I lit

to warm the cold hands of a man not yet my mistake.
Sis, that’s no place for a heart trust me

if your mama never told you what’s what
and where’s wear. A rib spreader is syntax enough

to put hurt back in its cage. Here is the door
there is the steeple open it wide.

stephanie roberts is the author of the poetry collection rushes from the river disappointment (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020). A widely published Quebec-based poet, she has work featured in Poetry Magazine, the League of Canadian Poets, The BreakBeat Poets: LatiNEXT (Haymarket Books, 2020), and elsewhere. She won first prize for Black Mountain Press’s The Sixty-Four: Best Poets of 2018.