"Past Lives"

I have read that salamanders
shed their skin and eat it,
the dried husk serving
as a valuable source of protein.

Perhaps I was a salamander in a previous life
for I find that every few years
my heart scrapes against my ribcage
the memories of past love(r)s
peeling off like sunburned skin.
The snapping of tendons echoes in my ears
like the patter of receding footsteps
and there is a sudden intake of breath
as the butterfly in my stomach
flaps its wings for the last time
crushed by the expanse of cardiac muscle
sinews twisting and wailing
until at last there is a sigh
and the outer wall tears down the center
membrane rippling outward
as another version of myself
for whom heartbreak is just an ironic anecdote
pushes through cracks of reopened scar tissue
and nods respectfully at the discarded casing
before slowly consuming the remains
finding nourishment in the parts of me that have died.

Copyright © 2018 Andrew Johnson | @WriterAndrew