Dawn McGuire

I Sleep in my Clothes

Is stroke the right word?
Some Zen monk with a name
like a skin disease said: A word
never put a cloud in the sky.

So? It’s important
to have the right one.
Stroke’s right—
            Struck down by a god.

Attic, apoplectic,
hurling a bolt.


Sunday I had a fit
over the Times crossword.
Woke up, head shaved, clot
dissolved, the doctor
pink with pleasure…
“no weakness whatsoever,
just some visual—“
his hand waving all around—

My head hurts like hell.


All my fingers, all my toes,
arms, legs, shoulders, hips, ok.
Ok, I can swim. Ok, I can talk.
No ifs, ands or buts.

I understand the lesion
that split apart my splenium,
the little u-joint between hemispheres
with its cow-part on some menu in Paris
I can’t read.


I can’t read. Not even when I write.
like the pillars of Hercules.

What is this?
I wrote it.
I’m reading it.

I was a literate man.
I was.


Working through the sports page
letter by letter is like stringing beads.
By the end of the sentence
I don’t care who blew the save.

My wife says I’m depressed.
Words. You know what it’s like?

I go to the page as to her body.
But I can’t feel her move.

I can’t hear her
call my name.