Define and Measure

‘…you hope it’s strong enough to sustain the rhythm’

2 billion heartbeats,
That’s the average.
That’s what it takes to build a lifetime.
It’s supposed to include all the shocks you get,
All the times it stops as your breath catches in the back of your throat when
You miss a step,
All the times it pauses as you jump awake in the silence of the night
Unsure of when you fell asleep and
Unsure of why your body shocked you into consciousness.

It’s supposed to include the rushes as well
When it beats too fast and you hope it’s strong enough to sustain the rhythm,
Like the fluttering wings of an insect having to work and work and work and work
Just to keep it airborne.
Or when you’re really aware of just how fast it is
In those moments when the frayed clouds fall away and you really taste food
You really laugh, deep in your body
You really do get good and angry
Those moments when you’re really alive.But 2.1 billion seems remarkably small.
Not nearly enough to create a lifetime
Or at least not the life you want to live.
So you wonder,
What if I’m using mine up too fast? Or maybe I’m close to the end? Should I count them?
And you realise, it’s an average.
It accounts for those who might have had 1
And those who might have had 3 billion
Or more.

And there’s no way of knowing which you’ll be and this scares you,
Like when you’re looking at the stars
And your brain suddenly reminds you that most of them are dead,
Billions of light years away and you’re not exactly certain of anything
And maybe someone’s looking back at your star as you look at theirs
But maybe not.
All this lack of knowledge surrounds you,
Mountains whose tips reach into and above and beyond the clouds

So you ball yourself up in your bed, convinced that if you make yourself feel smaller then at least the universe can’t.
But really, 2.1 billion
It just doesn’t seem enough.
And if it’s true that when you’re in love your heart beats for that person
Well, then I sincerely hope the person I fall in love with is not disheartened
By the meagre amount I can offer.

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