A Special Message From Animal Heart Press Editor-In-Chief, Elisabeth Horan
Hi everyone - it's Eli here, Editor of Animal Heart -
I want to share this poem with you all. My Assistant Editor, Amanda McLeod, wrote this for me when I was very afraid, lost and feeling scared of the future and worried about losses I had endured. Amanda is not only my brilliant assistant here at Animal Heart, she is my mentee - we work on her poetry - & she is my touchstone when the world is spinning; she is a shoulder to lean on when I am sinking, and she is a sane and lucid voice when I am weary with decision making.
Above all, as you can see in this poem, she is my friend. Holds me up when I stumble. Catches me when I fall - I want the world to see the gifts she has given to - to me and the Press, selflessly and unconditionally,
And to remind us all of the power of a poem, to lift up a heart which is hurting. I know it
takes the heart of an animal - to give in this way <3 love, eli
by Amanda McLeod
When your heart is animal
skin stretched taut across the frame
waiting on the stick
to give sound or purpose
to its rhythm. Stop waiting. Feel
each beat, its pattern perfect
a reminder that life thrums
within you, a gift a flame, that cannot be
When your bones ache
beneath the weight of living
responsibility piled on you like
cursed gold on a reluctant king
a reminder all you desire has a price.
See the muscle of your spirit
strain under the burden of constant use
growing through the pain lean
When these strengths these escapes
are lost to you when the abyss
feels endless, like it will swallow you.
Listen. At the mouth we gather in vigil
singing you back to the light.
Your eardrums are filters
white noise cancelled out.
The other voices, the ones that say
worthless inadequate faulty
fade until they are no more
than whispers on yesterday's wind.
Wrap us around you a blanket a shield
until you can hold yourself again.