Dawn McGuire

Love in the Skilled Nursing Unit

After Sappho’s Fragment 31
Whacked with a bat 
in Dolores Park for his wallet, 
Ari can't make new memories.
All day he lives in Then,

except when his wife of three 
decades stands in the doorway. 
In her dun-colored muumuu,
sandals from Thrift-Co 
that leave enough room 
for her hammertoes, 
she’s Aphrodite. 

He whoops and sighs,
tries to unlock his Geri-chair,
his face flushed, then pale 
as maiden grass.

Suddenly he’s mute—
his tongue, 
broken by beauty.

That's when I'd give 
my temporal lobe, 
my hippocampus whole, 
for his cheap blue gown;
to gaze upon that love again
by which one is first made, 
inflamed, destroyed—

then raised 
to aerial ash 
again and again.