Content Warning: Please be aware that some of the stories on these pages contain details and descriptions of abuse which you might find disturbing or upsetting.

Poem by John Roedel

my brain and
heart divorced

a decade ago

over who was

to blame about
how big of a mess
have become


they couldn’t be
in the same room
with each other

now my head and heart
share custody of me

stay with my brain
during the week

and my heart
gets me on weekends
they never speak to one another

– instead, they give me
the same note to pass
to each other every week

and their notes they
send to one another always
says the same thing:

“This is all your fault’

on Sundays

my heart complains
about how my

head has let me down
in the past

and on Wednesday
my head lists all
of the times my
heart has screwed
things up for me
in the future

they blame each
other for the

state of my life

there’s been a lot
of yelling – and crying

lately, I’ve been
spending a lot of

time with my gut

who serves as my
unofficial therapist

most nights, sneak out of the
window in my ribcage

and slide down my spine
and collapse on my

gut’s plush leather chair
that’s always open for me

~ and just sit sit sit sit
until the sun comes up

last evening,

my gut asked me

if was having a hard
time being caught
between my heart
and my head


said didn’t know
if could live with
either of them anymore
“my heart is always sad about

something that happened yesterday

while my head is always worried

about something that may happen tomorrow,

my gut squeezed my hand

‘just can’t live with

my mistakes of the past

or my anxiety about the future,’

my gut smiled and said:
‘in that case,

you should

go stay with your

lungs for a while,’

was confused
– the look on my face gave it away

“if you are exhausted about

your heart’s obsession with

the fixed past and your mind’s focus
on the uncertain future

your lungs are the perfect place for you

there is no yesterday in your lungs
there is no tomorrow there either

there is only now

there is only inhale

there is only exhale

there is only this moment

there is only breath
and in that breath

you can rest while your
heart and head work
their relationship out.’

this morning,
while my brain
was busy reading
tea leaves

and while my
heart was staring
at old photographs

packed a little
bag and walked
to the door of
my lungs

before could even knock
she opened the door

with a smile and as

a gust of air embraced me
she said
“what took you so long?’

~ john roedel (

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