Did I ever stop one heart from breaking?
Emily, truly, I do not know.
Oh, I tried, but life was full of snaking
Roller-coasters packed with woe;
So many are born with seat belts worn,
Squirming as the switchbacks twist
Their dangling seats — half bent and torn...
One I managed, arm and wrist,
To haul back in; she was sobbing, sighing,
And, Emily, truly, this is so,
She slapped me as she kissed me, crying —
‘Fool! You should have let me go!’
Written in response to Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘ If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking’
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one lonely person
Into happiness again
I shall not live in vain.
Well, I did save one. That is certain. But what is not certain — not at all — is whether I should have made the attempt and whether she truly thanked me in her heart of hearts for rescuing her from a self-induced overdose. I shall never know. She lives, happily enough, so I hear, to this day, but after an initial warming of my bed (perhaps for thanks, perhaps not) she never contacted me again.