For the Dear One Who Said I Put AIDs in their Ear
by Michael Mackin O’Mara
For one panicked moment I believed you
believed within a pillar of fear, doubt, loathing
the cries for yet another Devil’s Island
My tongue traced your salt
found each source and shiver
oh beautiful one, I understand fear
do you understand the luxury of loneliness
You who are destined for other arms in other rooms
My tongue silently sang your beauty
tasting the lines of your hands
how easy it is in this life of fiction
to fit someone with an iron mask
in yet another The Prisoner of… remake
The priest shall pronounce them unclean. All the days shall they be unclean, and they shall dwell alone outside the encampment. And they in whom the plague is, their clothes shall be rent, head bare, face veiled, and shall cry out to all who approach, Unclean! Unclean!
Where Leviticus meets Dumas, meets Hollywood circa 1936, meets Playbill gay-boys at Bent on Broadway, meets Angels in America, meets Rent, meets KS and pneumocystis, meets CMV, meets Anita Bryant, Jerry Falwell, Ryan White, Rock Hudson, AZT, meets ACT UP, meets die-ins, meets Silence = Death, meets the CDC, T-Cells & CD4s, meets PEP and PrEP, meets sero-conversion, side effects, drug resistance, meets not-you, meets poz-pigs, bug chasers, meets clean & UB2, meets loss and loss and loss, everyone, pieces & parts, meets online, on demand, virtual animations, more tokens please, meets burning effigies hung from AIDS quilts, meets apathy, meets AIDS is manageable, meets AIDS is over, meets no one, not-you, no one, not-you, none
Our tongues useless
paralyzed in threnodies
Are you clean? Distance demands, Are you? Clean?
and we, prisoners of our blood, guardians
of our body fluids
Unclean, we cry, Unclean
Michael Mackin O’Mara works for a nonprofit in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is the managing editor of the South Florida Poetry Journal concentrating on audio and video submissions. He has been published by Chantwood Magazine, Door is a Jar, Switched-on Gutenberg, Silver Birch Press and Indolent Books. His hobbies include photography, videography, and graphic arts.