Saturday, December 01, 2007

Poem for World AIDS Day

The first time I met him, I knew
That I had met AIDS face to face.
His body, gaunt and stooped,
His eyes, like those of a frightened deer,
Silently conveyed the untold secret.
In time, his partner, my son,
Told me what I already knew.
He came to know another world
Of hospitals, drugs, blood tests, and
The constant reminder of mortality.
They managed mostly on their own,
Both accustomed to life on the edge.
I helped when I could, it wasn’t much…
An air-conditioner, some groceries,
Help with the laundry, a bit of cash.
They found a house to renovate,
The work and the dream seemed to challenge
The very thought of mortality.
The house was their hope and their future,
A fortress to guard life itself.
I got the call in the middle of the night,
My son, distraught, said Clay was gone.
A sudden trip to the hospital had been his last.
Fate had broken that heartfelt promise
That he would die at home.
I made the sad journey to help
With packing and moving and saying goodbye.
We drove to the house to gather Clay’s tools,
Still lying where he had left them,
Intending to return to his unfinished work.