Dark Life

A dark life lives within me;

We coalesced late one night

Or in the early morning perhaps.

The midnight woman poured it into me

When I was feeling strongest

When I was at my weakest,

Consumed and whispering.

It is with me always

When I wake, when I eat;

It lurks in my every breathe.

It has taken so much from me.

Before the first of morning's light

It had wrapped itself around me,

Wound its way through me, always present

Though I don't always feel it.

The pill forces it down,

Keeps it at bay, in the depths

And away from the surface.

But even when I cannot sense it,

It affects my existence.

It is dark and hidden;

I cannot speak of it,

Cannot say its name.

It is in me always

And has given me nothing

But fear and shame.

I am afraid of it, despite the pill,

And I can tell no one, lest they fear too.

I cannot speak and I cannot show my love.

I am forcibly devoid of passion.

And it is no one's fault but my own.


Author's Note: I wrote this in January 2002, a few days after a friend of mine was diagnosed with HIV. I tried to put myself in her place, and this was the result.