I remember
when I heard
the first heartbeat.

I was 5
playing with my doll,
using my father’s
stethoscope and was
searching on its plastic body
for a beat.

My grandma had told me
that everyone has a clock
inside their chest
at times it makes

a soft noise

like a cricket on a hot
summer night,
and other times
it just gives up

and e x p l o d e s

like a bomb.

So I was checking
my doll for

a cricket,
or a bomb.

It was a winter afternoon
and I was staying
close to the stove
hoping to fool the cricket
and praying for the bomb
to be calm.

But I didn’t hear a tick
her plastic flesh
was cold-
the crickets were mute
and bombs silent.

When my mom
came home from work
I jumped in her arms
and squeezed her with mine.

And as I stood on her chest
holding my breath

there I heard
the bomb and the cricket


Aida Bode is a poet and writer from Korca, Albania. She’s been published by online and print magazines including: Prelude, Allegro, Three Line Poetry, Oddball, and more. Aida holds a MA in English and Creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University. More about Aida can be found at www.aidabode.com