There is tattered lace upon the breast of my loved one.

I tattered it. I did not know.
I had thought it was of iron.

Still, she did not look at me with tears in her eyes.
Instead, she tattered my lace right back.

I knew my lace was tender.
I knew that.

Actually, I wear no lace.
What I speak of is my heart.
The hardness of it, that is,
The hardness that I put there because my heart was so tender.

The hardness of my heart is what she tattered.


by Robert Hampton Burt
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