Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

PoetrySnaps! Pam Davenport: As She Shows Me My Heart

Pam Davenport

In the latest installment of KNAU's series PoetrySnaps!, we meet Pam Davenport, who shares with us her poem As She Shows Me My Heart. Davenport wrote it after undergoing an echocardiogram. And it’s a reminder to all of us to count our blessings; big or small, obvious or subtle, mundane or dramatic.

Pam Davenport:

On the day I learned I would be reading this poem, I also happened to reread a well-known poem by James Wright titled A Blessing. It describes an encounter between two friends and two ponies and a field in Minnesota. We think of blessings as being conferred only by people who are anointed in some way, humans. But they can come from unpredictable sources: from horse to man, or vice versa, or from a medical technician in my case. We just have to be paying attention.

As She Shows Me My Heart

She notices the gentle doctor’s name

on my chart and I recall his elegant fingers,

remember them moving a wand over my chest,

the hole since birth flapping like a hummingbird.

We stare at her screen together.

She shows me parts, how they move

in synch, all of us with the same durable

delicate membranes in constant motion.

I try to follow this dance––

sapphire, scarlet, emerald lines

glide across the monitor,

moving my blood.

Her bangs cover her eyebrows,

clumped, a little oily––a busy

mother, a daughter, young

and I am not, but we see each other.

It’s so beautiful, we both whisper,

our hearts’ heavy work.

About the poet:

Pam Davenport is an Arizona-based writer with a penchant for teaching eco-poetry workshops. She is a former winner of the Slipstream Chapbook Competition and a recipient of the Arizona Authors’ Association Annual Award for Poetry. Davenport’s work has been published in multiple journals and anthologies, including Slippery Elm and Poetry of the American Southwest.

About the host:

Steven Law is the co-producer of KNAU’s series PoetrySnaps! He is a poet, essayist, storyteller, and the author of Polished, a collection of poems about exploring the Colorado Plateau by foot and by raft.

About the music:

Original music by Flagstaff-based band Pilcrowe.

PoetrySnaps! airs the first and third Friday of each month.

Steven Law was the co-producer of KNAU’s series PoetrySnaps!
Gillian Ferris was the News Director and Managing Editor for KNAU.