In the Honda Service Area

Laura Foley

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.


About the poet:

Laura Foley is the author of three poetry collections, including The Glass Tree, which won ForeWord Reviews‘ Book of the Year Silver Award. She has won Harpur Palate‘s Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Award as well as the Grand Prize in Atlanta Review‘s International Poetry Contest and a poetry fellowship from the Frost Place. She holds graduate degrees in English literature from Columbia University and is a volunteer chaplain and creative-arts facilitator in hospitals. She lives in Pomfret, Vermont, with her partner and their three big dogs. For more information, visit

About the poem:

“I was rereading the Iliad and was struck by the vividness of the language: it depicted a scene far away in time and place, and yet I felt I was there. Such is Homer’s skill. Then I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation near me. I was at first annoyed by the intrusion, then intrigued.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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3 thoughts on “In the Honda Service Area”

  1. This is a marvelous poem! Wonderful insight, and such a big part of my life, this overlapping of stories, when I am trying to read, and overhearing someone talk about their medical experience! Great poem!

  2. LOVED this poem. So totally graphic and what we experience. Trying to distance and then something – a story, a myth, creeps in to disrupt our distance. This was brilliant. Thanks

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