In the Honda Service Area
We’re sitting knee-to-knee
while her car gets new brakes, mine new fluids.
She discusses hip replacement,
in warrior-like detail, with a friend,
each slice to flesh, how skin is spread
from bone, the pain she’s in, her plans when she gets home,
the miracle of titanium. I’m trying not to hear,
two foam plugs squeezed snugly in my ears,
head bent low over The Iliad. I’m at the part
where Achilles, known for ripping limbs,
breaking hips apart, rests angry in his tent,
saying he will not fight, not for shining pots of gold,
nor the seven dancing girls Agamemnon offers.
But, time and again, her new hips, titanium and strong as a god’s,
break through the bronze age scene, her voice
a wave dissolving the Trojan beach.
by Laura Foley, from Night Ringing (Headmistress Press)
Editor’s Note: The juxtaposition of modern repair (both mechanical and human) with ancient damage creates a narrative that spans an eon as well as mere moments.