Ask Your Doctor if Your Heart is Healthy Enough for Sex

Her cotton gown is twisted snug
against her breast; in the lamplight
you make out nipple you
haven’t tasted since George W, and follow
the fabric south to bush you remember
as salty. You almost touch her. She has
forbidden until you get the breath
shortness checked. You know what he will
find, same as your dad. You cannot afford
time off work, plus you cannot understand why
they make a man with a bad heart
pound a treadmill until the EKG explodes. So

you’re careful, you walk slowly, minimize stairs,
she doesn’t even make you carry groceries or mow. You
hunker down in a bubble of risk aversion until either
you kick over or make it to Medicare. Still,
on nights like this, you think of the little
pills your buddy gave you and you imagine
waking her, between her legs.
You don’t care if it lasts
more than four hours because she deserves
every minute until the vise clamps your chest and
they haul you away, so
she can finally move on with her life.