Sexual abstinence: the landscape where he lives.
A desert, of sorts:
parched red soil,
ants like dots in an iris,
He feels safe from AIDS, here
where a horse carcass decays,
burning in sun-cooked air.
Miles without water beckon,
stretch before him,
yet he sees himself as protected
from all harm, all viruses,
all disease, all bacteria.
This desert will kill anything.
This desert will kill everything.
He treks across it
though he will not survive it.
Austin Alexis is the author of Privacy Issues (Broadside-Lotus Press, 2014), winner of the 2014 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, and the chapbooks Lovers and Drag Queens (CreateSpace, 2014) and Lincoln & Other Poems (Poets Wear Prada, 2010). His work has appeared in the anthologies And We the Creatures (Dream Horse, 2003) and Off the Cuffs (Soft Skull Press, 2003). His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Candelabrum, Connecticut River Review, Dana Literary Society On-line Journal, James White Review, Obsidian, Pedestal Magazine, Pieran Springs, and others. He teaches literature and creative writing at New York City College of Technology and lives in New York City.
This poem is previously unpublished.