Na(HIV)PoWriMo ± April 25, 2017

Dennis Rhodes
At the Monster

My body is as undetectable
as the virus lurking within it,
standing in the heated crowd
along the dance floor. Old
and sober. That’s the best I can say
for myself, the finest example
I can set for all the young men
around me. I’m not nostalgic
or sentimental: I just want
to feel what transparency is like,
to put old memories in their place;
If this were thirty years ago
most of them would want to screw me.
Now they look not at me but through me.


Dennis Rhodes is the author of Spiritus Pizza & Other Poems (Vital Links, 2000) and Entering Dennis (Xlibris, 2005). His poems and essays have appeared in BLOOM, Chelsea Station, Lambda Literary Review, The Cape Cod Times, New York Newsday, Fine Gardening, Avocet, Backstreet, Ibbetson Street, bear creek haiku, Aurorean, and Alembic, among others.

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Here is today’s prompt

(optional as always)

One of the exciting new developments on the road to ending HIV is the discovery that treatment is prevention—than an HIV-positive person on treatment with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to HIV-negative partners. Write a poem about treatment as a concept, perhaps thinking about different uses of the word: treatment for a condition, treating someone nicely or badly, window treatments, etc. Can you connect these different types of “treatment” in the same poem?