Heart Out

For Marina




My friend tells me my courage is my vulnerability, that in my overthrow of self lies refinement.

What part un-hindering & what part exchange?

Is it courage that extends the detangling of days? Maybe so.

What is the use in our holding? What is the use in the lull?

Still, signals fall. Still, the outside stirs. Still, the light flays.

Oh, we manage the intimate & the coy; we draw ourselves in flight or frenzy.

Hush the memory of your uncertainties, your brooding and your frays.

It is another cage of plenty, another concealment.

Still trust, steel aught & gesture-kind, it is harder to bare the heart.

Harder still to bear the heart out.





Leah Umansky is the author of two full length collections, The Barbarous Century (2018), and Domestic Uncertainties (2013), among others. She is the curator and host of The COUPLET Reading Series in NYC. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as POETRY, Guernica, Bennington Review, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day, Poetry International, The New York Times, Rhino, and Pleiades. She is resisting the tyrant with her every move. She can be found at @lady_bronte



read next: Linda E. Keyes, “A Mother of Concern


“Heart Out” appeared in TLR: Contents May Shift (Summer, 2020)