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Feral Heart by Emma Wells

Stalking for weakness,

you feign temerity -

honing hard, pushing mousy fear

into tightly-wedged corners

of dust-clogged rooms

of shadowy forgetfulness.

I cower, coughing sharply,

burying a soft-skull to floorboards

pretending it is merely a nightmare:

nothing real here.

Nothing tangible -

only tautly spinning nerves.

Raising pathetic hackles,

I try to propel you away

but hotly pulsing fur

lumbers forth

knocking me blind

with fetid breath.

My claws scratch downwards

trying not to catch

my downturned reflection

in once polished surfaces:

now, smudged, marred by time

as matted, unbrushed hair

of a wildling child

dwelling in fairy-tale forests,

forgotten by modern time.

Backing farther away

to gloaming edges,

that prod sharply,

I close my awakened, vixen eyes,

simultaneously opening

my dark, charred heart,

a dying black rose,

flicks embers out:

charcoal, wispy ribbons

dying of exposure

amidst cobwebbed oblivion;

a muted, but feral-laced heat.

Effervescence briefly purges forth -

within a singular band of light

from a barred windowpane,

a sliver of my heart.

Truth rips him apart.

I see choked intestines

writhing macabrely from maimed love

like earthworms searching fast

for earthen, darkling oubliettes:

hiding duped heads

in burgeoning black holes

of endless, empty expanse.

You, a mass of deadened souls -

loosely stitched into a cage of onyx fur -

are nothing - yet the cause.

As you turn to leave,

I intrepidly place

a growing panther-paw,

no longer mouse-like,

readying to battle you

using my hidden, feral heart

as a steeled weapon.

Unbidden, a roar bellows forth,

leonine and fiercely-fired,

locked inside my imprisoned soul;

it sends you scampering,

wholesomely terrified,

from my tooth and claw warren

where only truth rotates,

dripping as a libertine

fuelled by Romanticism

from my extending canines,

and unfurling claws:

a gothic Ferris wheel –

a game you cannot play.

My talons tap out your name

like Morse code:

a morose melody

upon hollow, haunting boards

as I breathe heavily

eyeing my panther silhouette

framed by moonlight

glowing as embers inside,

is my feral, beating heart.


Emma is a mother and English teacher. She has poetry published with various literary journals and magazines. She enjoys writing flash fiction and short stories also. Emma won Wingless Dreamer’s Bird Poetry Contest of 2022 and her short story entitled ‘Virginia Creeper’ was selected as a winning title by WriteFluence Singles Contest in 2021. Her first novel is entitled Shelley’s Sisterhood which is due to be published in 2023.

P.S. You can hear Emma read her poem on episode no. 127 of the Hummingbird Blink Spotify podcast.


Feral Hearts - Kerli


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