Thrift Store Heart

a poem by Merwin Brown

You have a thrift store heart
It’s a little chipped
It’s a little bruised
It’s a little tarnished
It’s a little used
But it’s a heart nevertheless
It can still be used for its intended purpose
You have a thrift store heart
It lies right next to the bin of broken promises
On the shelf right above lowered self esteem
And right around the corner from used memories
The sign in your eyes lets me know that it’s 50% off because it
doesn’t quite work like it used to

The previous owners didn’t know how to operate it properly and so it got passed around like a childhood game of hot potato
One man hung it on his wall because he was a collector of
fragile things
It went beautifully with all his other prized possessions until it
broke and then he wanted it no longer
Another man wore it as a fashion statement until he learned

that holding on to just one other heart was no longer in sea son and your unwillingness to share was now out of style

Still another man polished it up and used it as a trophy
A status of his manhood and his ability to tame wild things
But your heart was never meant to be ornamental
One man used them as gel insoles for his shoes and he had to
walk for miles

He was on a journey to self-discovery, but always ended up lost
and retracing his steps leaving your heart worn out under the
weight of his confusion
And after all of that, you end up here with a thrift store heart
A little chipped
A little bruised
A little tarnished
A little used
But still resilient
Yet you wonder if it’s still salvageable
You wonder if it’s still of any use
I want you to know that it is
The ones who owned it before didn’t know what they had
It was never a fashion statement, a decoration, or a means of
transportation from boy to man

It’s a container that needs to be filled with all the love it de-
serves

It’s a cup that should be running over with the sweetest nectar
dripping from your own self confidence

It’s a safe that has locked within it one of the greatest treasures known to man: loyalty

You have a thrift store heart
But it never should have been there to begin with
Your heart is not used goods
It’s an heirloom passed down to you by all the women in your
bloodline that loved before you
And that makes it priceless.

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