Na(HIV)PoWriMo ± April 23, 2017

Mark Ward

The television glowed red with stretchmarks
unable to contain the friction displayed
within perfect bodies light throws shadows,
fables of how the game is played.

It’s easy to subdivide derision,
to overwhelm risk with validation,
hands and skin accepting benediction.
Tonight’s lit with a well-worn negation;

moonlight cloaks the animal, makes it think
the world is a windowless tomorrow
holding steady on the brink of sunlight.
His lithe archetype might drown out the night.

You can burn the worst on overcast days.
You should learn not to yearn for the cause of the blaze.


Mark Ward‘s poems have appeared in Assaracus, Tincture, The Good Men Project, HIV Here & Now, Storm Cellar, Studies in Arts and Humanities, Off the Rocks, The Wild Ones, Vast Sky, and Emerge, as well as in the anthologies Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, The Myriad Carnival and Not Just Another Pretty Face. He founded Impossible Archetype, a journal of LGBTQ+ poetry. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. Learn more at

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Here is today’s prompt

(optional as always)

Today’s poem is a sonnet. Write an HIV poem in sonnet form. My husband, poet Jason Schneiderman, wrote a whole crown of sonnets about HIV and me in his book Sublimation Point (Four Way Books, 2004). The complete crown is posted with permission here. (You can look up “sonnet crown” online; frankly, I do not see any good online discussions of it, but there are a number of good books out there about poetic forms).