Catching a glimpse
of you my heart
did beat faster, thumping
with such force,
I looked at the faces around
to see if they heard what I felt: the percussion
in my chest. Every cliché of first love
true: dizzied,
I’d have to catch my breath,
get it back on a respiratory track
from whence it had derailed in the bend
around you. Oh, the thrill of those terrible
symptoms now I face each morning from smiles
I wait to dissolve in the depressed bow
of angry inquisitions
or, worse, silent suspicions
and their sense
of doom.

A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. His essay “It’s Been a Long Time Coming” was featured in The New York Times “Modern Love” column in April 2016. Penha edits TheNewVerse.News, an online journal of current-events poetry. @JamesPenha

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