Dawn McGuire


I’m drinking vino tinto in front of 
a three-story dog made of flowers.
The old distractions fail me. 
They even make things worse.

I try a church and end up 
cheeking the communion wafer  
like Thorazine as the white gowns 
glide past. Holy water splashes 
in and out of suppressed coves.

I pick up a book I once loved, 
reread how Anytus risked his life 
to bring the Thirty Tyrants down, 
democracy back to Athens, yet
rushed to sentence Socrates 
to death. 
	What chance 
do any of us have against 
desire? His handsome Alcibiades 
loved Socrates more.

Even with enough white matter 
to circle twice the Earth, 
we kill for love.
The neocortex can loom large,
harsh as an exhausted mother
saying, use your words use your words

but your amygdala’s in flames.
Anytus is ravenous, and Socrates,
a bent old man the dogs jump on,
is looking like Adonis.
We’re wired like this.
My grandfather, a gentle Christian man, 
at 92 still remembered how rich bankers 
used to come around the farm, 
circle and sniff his Helen.

Sixty years, and he still 
kept a pipe wrench in his boot.