Nostalgia by Laura Manuelidis

It was night and you were not here
When the gardenia blossomed
April 27 as I remember
The shapely white thighs of the petals fell open
And you had disappeared
Or never appeared
When the fragrance of Greece returned
No longer hidden.

Sometimes it comes upon me, the gardenia
In the smell of stale gasoline spotted on the ground
The dust of an ancient city with its monumental hill.
Sometimes it comes upon me as your fingers shaped my flesh
The caryatids silently singing
In the afternoon, while the rest of the city naps.
Sometimes it returns as the tough white sheets your mother
Made our bed with
From Byzantium.
Sometimes I believe I will be able to return
As you visit me secretly
In your arms the Aegean
Midway in your orbit
Still circling.

LAURA MANUELIDIS is a physician with an eclectic education (including several well known poets) who "professes" at Yale; publications in neurosciences, best known for work on "Mad-Cow" and other neurodegenerative diseases. She also teaches undergraduates on the interface of poetry and science.  Her work has appeared in the Nation.