The heart is a bear. Beady eyes, claws. Wide grin. It lumbers through the forest of the body, sometimes settling behind the eyes as a great dark shape, sometimes rubbing itself against the brain. Most often it crouches in defense of the spine, all fur and bristle. Great pink tongue.

The first kiss, and it nestles in the mouth’s cavern. The last kiss, and it knows this, lies still for months. Maybe years.

One night, you wake hungry, lips still red. You blink back the sleep. On your way out the door, barefoot, you find that you are listening hard — but for what?

The snap of a twig, crushed berries, a loaded gun.

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