December 23, 2004


My mother used to say that she could tell she was pregnant
When she felt another heart beat inside of her.
It made her feel comforted to know that she wasn’t alone.
I remember swimming meets where I would swim the individual medley,
And my head would break water
And the sounds I heard alternated from cheering in the open air
To the sound of my heart beating in the cool water.

Science class, ninth grade,
Frog dissection, and I run out of time for the exercise,
Fail because I keep on looking at the heart, wondering why it doesn’t beat.

When I was sixteen,
My father passed away,
They told me it was because of a stroke,
But I knew it had to do with his irregular heartbeat.

Twelfth grade, my heart beats nervously as I open the note
From my number one college, letting me know I was

Freshman year,
At a different college,
And as we stay up late one night,
Sharing intimacies,
I feel our hearts beat together
And I know I have found her,
My soulmate, my partner, my wife

The Doctor’s office,
So many years later,
At six weeks,
And the first time I know that she is real is when I hear her

Just a dad and his two daughters,
Messing around
Laughing as we put our head on each other’s bellies and listen to our hearts beat.

The phone receiver drops from my hand
As my sister tells me I need to
Catch a plane immediately
Back to Mom, back to her home,
And I can feel my heart beat so loudly that I wonder if she can hear it over the phone.

The hospital.
Traces my mother’s heartbeat
As she valiantly fights against the cancer that ravishes her body.

In her home,
She leaves us behind.
The nurse says she has never seen someone’s heart beat so long, with such strength,
At the end.

I write these words today, Mom,
For you, for my wife, for my children,
For myself…
And as I close my eyes I can hear your heart beat alongside my own,
A cacophony of hearts beating.
Telling me that I too will never be alone.

Someday, I hope my daughters feel a heart beat inside of them,
Something more than themselves,
Another generation in a family of hearts beating
Echoing the percussion of the hearts that beat before.

Another poem written for a WBUR Poetry Challenge.  The challenge was entitled “Vantage Verse,“ and entrants were required to write a poem taking 13 ways of looking at something.  My submission was again selected as a featured poem on “Here and Now.“  I was interviewed by Robin Young, host of the show.  The web site is here and the program can be listened to here (Real Player required to listen to the program).


  1. Wow. Just … wow. What a beautiful metaphor.

  2. Beautiful. I nearly started to cry (and would have if I wasn’t at work!).

  3. Very beautiful..and powerful.

  4. You evoke complex pictures and emotions with an economy of well-chosen words – masterfully done.

    Congratulations on your B4B finalist status!

  5. Amazing collection of words. I really enjoyed it. Thanks!

  6. Yea, Daniel! Winner!

  7. Thank you. That was wonderful, and as a woman who’s lost her own mother, I know the feeling…

    thank you.

  8. I am wiping away tears. That was so beautiful.

  9. Stunningly poignant.Well-deserved congrats!!

  10. Amazing…

  11. My goosebumps applaude this piece – a deserved win. Congratulations, even if I am a little late to say it!

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