The Way to a Man’s Heart by Mariel Herbert


You ask me to prove my feelings for you,
So I carve my love’s name along my spine.
I am the builder and the bridge, but you
are the architect. Inspect my typography,
take your time with each stroke. You say
my construction is not stable enough, so
I disarticulate my ankles from my feet.
I shall stay by your side until death, for
I have no need to wander. You tell me
you cannot trust me not to stray where
you can’t follow, in fantasies or dreams.
So I teach myself enucleation, place my
vestigial eyes in a velvet box. They rest
safe and still in the dark of your bedside
table. Then you share your heart with me,
and you call it a perfect fit. I feel it beating
beneath my sternum: your wordless want.
So, when I vivisect my own heart from
my chest, serve it on our wedding china–
slivered and raw–it is because I know you
are starving. I know you are mine.


Mariel Herbert’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Liminality, Daily Science Fiction, Scifaikuest, and Star*Line. She lives in Northern California with her family, one high-maintenance dog, and many low-maintenance books. Mariel also runs a few speculative reading groups, and she can be found online at

Published 2/10/22

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