Na(HIV)PoWriMo ± April 18, 2017

Jo Going
After AIDS

And then one night
you came to me,
like putting on a coat,
and lifted me flying.

Through phantasmagoric shifting
geometries of light
we traveled,

me, ecstatic to be with you once more,
and you in that familiar role—teacher, protector—
now in this form:
an assurance of being.

I didn’t question.

Centerwise, we paused
before a pulsing blackness,
a void of nothing
and everything,
a palpitation of presence,
into which you disappeared,
while I watched, illuminated.

Many years now,
and I have been

knowing that light journey
became my luminescence.

And yet,
and yet,
I miss you still,

and more,

while ever opening your gift:

the distilled essence
of pure love.


From a long poem cycle, “The Midwife of Death”, written in response to the poet’s sharing her brother’s journey through AIDS.

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Here is today’s prompt

(optional as always)

Notice how today’s poem, like so many poems posted by the HIV Here & Now project since June 2015, is a recollection of a loved one who died of AIDS by a surviving loved one. As a change of pace, try writing a poem in the voice of a person who died of AIDS. Or perhaps in dialogue with a person who died of AIDS. For some examples, take a look at Marie Howe’s poem, “The Last Time,” from her landmark book, What the Living Do (W. W. Norton, 1998), or Michael Broder’s poem, “The Remembered One,” from his book This Life Now (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2014).