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A Poem by Jim S.

May 10, 2012


Recalling the lyrics in a U2 tune I ask myself,
"is it getting better or do I feel the same"?

The leopards however are not in my head,
they are around me in every waking moment of my life
and they have even invaded my dreams!

People no longer call,
so-called "friends" no longer want to chat
or share on social media sites.

Living in a small town, and being hospitalized
near death I realized it was not just my body
that was beseeched by this disease
but my right to privacy as well.

I avoid going to weddings now or even Christmas dinner
as I am sensitized to the often well-meaning
but occasional pure inquisitiveness
that I just no longer have the temperance to address.

I'm afraid to date,
fall in love, have sex,
because there are 36 states
that criminalize HIV
even if you disclose.
It's their word against yours
and a looming prison sentence!

My circle has gotten smaller
and my options seem less,
faced with the stigma of this disease.

So I am waiting to be called home.

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This article was provided by 2012 Poetry Month at

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