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everything extraneous has burned away
this is how burning feels in the fall
of the final year not like leaves in a blue
October but as if the skin were a paper lantern
full of trapped moths beating their fired wings
and yet I can lie on this hill just above you
a foot beside where I will lie myself
soon soon and for all the wrack and blubber
feel still how we were warriors when the
merest morning sun in the garden was a
kingdom after Room 1010 war is not at all
death it turns out war is what little
thing you hold on to refugeed and far from home
oh sweetie will you please forgive me this
that every time I opened a box of anything
Glad Bags One-A-Days KINGSIZE was
the worst I'd think will you still be here
when the box is empty Rog Rog who will
play boy with me now that I bucket with tears
through it all when I'd cling beside you sobbing
you'd shrug it off with the quietest I'm still
I have your watch in the top drawer
which I don't dare wear yet help me please
the boxes grocery home day after day
the junk that keeps men spotless but it doesn't
matter now how long they last or I
the day has taken you with it all
there is now is burning dark the only green
is up by the grave and this little thing
of telling the hill I'm here oh I'm here

Paul Monette

* * * * *

In the clutches of a terminal disease - paralysing sense of extreme helplessness, strangulation to the point of no escape; perhaps there is a reason to celebrate life (or whatever left of it), when love is existential and evident.

Paul Monette is the author of a book I attempted to read, Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir, 1988. The same book that caused a good friend of mine to weep silently. Through his words, we both realise the fragility of life, the inevitability of loss and pain, and the infliction of love.

Paul Monette died of AIDS in 1995. This page is dedicated to all HIV patients and a few of my most loved friends. The five stars represent their spirit.

love from estherg