"How did the community respond? "

You ask that and I think Ronald Reagan.
A building was dedicated to him that year.
I went the day it opened to pee on it.

"Good," someone in the audience affirms.

He just stands there, all stormy blue
stare, slight tightening of the mouth—

Epidemics are like wildfires. Down to the person,
those of us in that room who decided to take a break
for six months are alive—those who didn't: dead.

Then, vacantly, at length:

Excuse me. I need to pick up my son.

As he goes, I imagine a monument to a man
peeing on the establishment, a plague proclaiming:

My best friend got pissed on
by a politics of purity.

We took care of our own, then.

It's time we all took care of our own.
These are things we must speak of.
Silence can kill.

Obviously, it already has.