After AIDS

by Shawn Nacona Stroud
Desert Moon Review
Honorable Mention, April 2009
Judged by Duncan Mercredi

Not even the moon can light
your path tonight, nor the stars
that wince down on you
like eyes behind which
a terrible migraine flexes the brain.
They are the eyes of Gods’
stupidly staring as they have
for centuries—you pay no mind.
You are lost to them in your death frock:
the whitened skin that settles in,
blooming on you the way a bruise
gradually darkens. The sky too
pales through our window squares,
from pink to blue
just like you. Ferrying
the sounds of birds and cars
into our bedroom where you lie
in a puddle of night sweats.
The sounds of 6:00 a.m. cumulate
as your breath rattles
to a halt. You are
porcelain now; a doll,
hardened all over as you cast
your death-stench about the room.
The cold you give makes a morgue-
slab out of our bed, and issues
from a realm as unattainable as life.