The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 16 no. 2


Kate Farrell

Heart to Heart


My mother walked all this way to say
a person is the door she walks through to
herself—then came inside and hung up her
coat. Obvious, I guess, but I liked how she
said it—mental illness having become at
her death a majestic sagesse. It’s this that
locks us
, she went on, in separate skins

to inseparable hearts, our minefields
pinned to Mundus Imaginalis. At times—
leaving yourself behind like that robe thrown
over that chair over there, or vanishing
like this in this dream of yours—you can
glimpse the method in the madness, the area
the doors will open into.
 By now we were
standing at the back window, the stream

in the night valley below unseen but for
the shimmer under the bridge light—Time as
moving image of the mind it’s lit by. Her
soft smile at 16, at 80, the glint of dark eyes
glancing off to one side; a cross-flicker of
the particulars of the mostly untold story
pouring over the creek stones in western
Oklahoma where the trouble must have

started. Can hardly take my eyes off
that sight
, she said, and I wondered if she’d
been reading my mind, if I’d mistaken my
heartbeats for her footsteps. One glimmer
less or torrent more
, she added, smiling
that smile and putting on her coat, would
gild Newcastle, bring coal to the roses