The heart came from somewhere in the Midwest by plane to St. Louis Children’s Hospital during game 5 of the 2006 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers. My mother heard cheers as the surgeon stepped off the elevator with the cooler containing the organ. She took a picture of the surgeon and the cooler in the same moment that Adam Wainwright threw the final pitch, a strike, to Brandon Inge and the Cardinals became champions. In the picture, the surgeon is smiling. The cooler containing the organ is navy blue; the surgeon holds it with one hand. Years after the transplant, I find the photo on my mother’s phone while trying to help her clear space for more memory. She asks me to leave it there because she sometimes likes to look at it. I zoom in on the cooler—it is the closest I’ve ever come to seeing the heart now inside my chest or a picture of the donor.
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Excerpt from “Your Hearts, Your Scars.” Copyright © 2022 by Adina Talve-Goodman. Forthcoming Jan. 24, 2023, by Bellevue Literary Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.