Skip to main content
Free domestic shipping on orders over $85!

Reading “Naming the Heartbeats” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil



Poetry Lunch S5E10

Reading “Naming the Heartbeats” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil from Oceanic, Copper Canyon Press.


So many sweetnesses in my life and this poem describes those ties that bind us, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unwittingly. When I am overwhelmed with love and affection I find myself saying all kinds of ridiculous things, for instance, I don’t just call Mabel “honeybunch.” I often ask her: “are you a honeybunch or a bunch of honey?”

Not quite unprintable but definitely makes me blush to share. And why? Because I relate to the narrator of this poem, who starts out so confessionally — “I’ve become the person…” and I know what she means. I’ve become that person too. There’s a softness inside me that’s grown in direct relation to the nurturing, caring, tending, and loving I give to my dog. To children in my life. To my partner. They help me discover more love inside myself than I ever knew I had or could give and I don’t mind that it makes me say silly things at all.

It’s hard to stay sweet in our world so harsh at large. The sweetnesses often seem small. But, also. Any small thing you pay attention to grows. And the way this poem ends on dreams, it makes me think. How might our sweetest selves dream new ways of being? How might we give the love we have for our most intimate relations to folks we don’t know at all? To the hurt and the hell all around? How can we keep sleeping and dreaming and waking together? Ever expanding whose heartbeats we allow in our group?


Link to purchase

Get the book: Oceanic.