Na(HIV)PoWriMo ± April 5, 2017

Laura Secord
As Far as Heart Goes (V)

When she resurrects to our awe,
and they pronounce her fit to leave,
she picks Jamal up from school, grouts tile,
paints the hall, and teaches him to read.

Under the starry ceiling
she stenciled, she tells him,
God, who made the world, promised she’d live
till Jamal could manage without her,
and one day they’d meet again.

She lasts till spring, when doctors
attempt to resurrect her, giving chest
compressions once again, but none has strength
enough to mend her warrior’s heart.


Laura Secord‘s poems have appeared in the Birmingham Weekly, A&U Magazine, The Southern Women’s Review, PoemMemoirStory and Passager. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada College and has been an offset printer, union organizer, health care activist, teacher, and a sex-educator. For thirty years, she combined the life of a writer and performer with a career as a Nurse Practitioner in HIV care. She is the co-founder of Birmingham’s Sister City Spoken Word Collective.

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Here is today’s prompt

(optional as always)

Write a poem about receiving the news of a NEGATIVE HIV TEST in 2017. Write a poem that captures that sense of relief combined with that sense of “What if…?” and that sense of “There but for the grace…” or whatever you think it would mean for you or for a person you imagine yourself to be. For some information that might help your poetic process on this topic, check out this page on testing negative for HIV.