Certain Other Infections
Men who have had sex with other men, at any time since 1977 … are currently deferred as blood donors. This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion.
—United States Food and Drug Administration, 1985—2015
The infections must be Prada heels, hooked
into the side of Hepatitis B’s protein coat
like some runway where I design
high end fashion nobody will wear
outside, like a peacock’s tail flared
out in a woman’s dress, gender confused,
making it impossible to sit. Or is it
the way HIV thrusts into human
cells, the way two men can push?
Neither can reproduce on their own.
We have RNA and phospholipid membranes
in common—the way we touch
the world, exchange information
through bilayers of fat and muscle,
unzip our genes, break hydrogen
bonds, and replicate into each other
to feel the rush of what we must keep.
Steven Sanchez is a Lambda Literary Fellow and was recently selected for a 2016 CantoMundo Fellowship. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno and his poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Nimrod, Crab Creek Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and Assaracus, among others. He currently teaches at Fresno City College.
This poem appeared in Assaracus.