Suzzane Cleary’s “Echocardiogram”

“How does, how does, how does it work…?” Asks the speaker in “Echocardiogram” as the poem’s opening. I found this poem in the repetition section of Fishhouse, and was pulled in by the title. The first line made me think the repetition would be reminiscent of a heartbeat, since the repetition of “how does, how does,” has the same beat as a heartbeat. However, this only lasts the first line, and soon the repetition becomes a sign of anxiety in the poem. Phrases are repeated, as are words in different contexts, and ideas continued through this repetition. The last few lines is a run-on sentence that uses repetition to drive home that the “house where love lives” is in a small tin shed stuck in a very tumultuous area, representing that the heart is not nearly as protected as the speaker wishes.