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My Brother

I love him
I care for him
He is my brother.

I worry about him
I fear for him
He is my brother.

There are lots like him
And many are dying
And so is my brother.

It's all over the news
In papers and on T.V.
About kids like my brother.

I used to live in fear
of others finding out
About my brother.

We told the school
the community and press
About my brother.

I live in less fear
and have more friends
And so does my brother.

I still live in fear
about the course of this disease
And the loss of my brother.

I live each day
loving him so
He is my brother.

    Lauren, age 10
    (This poem was developed in a therapeutic session with Dr. Lori Wiener of National Cancer Institute.)


I want them
I need them
everyone does

without friends
the world would end

at least my life would feel
so empty and blue
friendships help bring
happiness, it's true

My life was a secret
from all who I knew
for 13 years I lied
to everyone I knew

Then one day I told
cause I couldn't be me
I said I've got a disease
it's called HIV

No one believed me
at least that day
so I said it again
in a different way

Now the word was out
that this kid had AIDS
so many questions
so many afraid

Now they understand
that I am okay
and I have more friends
it's much better this way

When living a lie
it was hard to be
myself or relaxed
in my friends' company

Today I am happy
for what I have done
I told the truth
and now I can have fun

The kids in school
I can now see
they care for me
as a friend with HIV.

    Deanna, age 12
    (This poem was developed in a therapeutic session with Dr. Lori Wiener of National Cancer Institute.)

I Love You

AIDS -- to possess it -- I don't know
To be scared of dying, I do.
Knowing tomorrow could be the end
And I might have to say goodbye

Before you say good night
You say Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, friend,
I love you.
You don't know if they will be the
last words that could come out of your mouth
or the last chance to tell them
you love them.

Tears running down.
Put your hands together and pray.
I don't have AIDS or any disease.
But I'm scared of dying and scared of losing.
I want to keep telling them I love them.

    Nina Gribetz, age 12

Fading Light

My heart is hopeful
my hands are full of dreams
the thought of leaving is
harder than
it seems

Robin --

You are my life and without you
I would not mind
The last touch of your face
flashes through
my ephemeral life.

The moonlight is
And the flowers are
My body grows
weaker under
the sheet.

The burning
light is
still in your
as my light

This deadly gift
is all that is
left of

And then wherever it is
I will see
you again.

-- Chris

    By Allysan Gerstein, age 16

Writing Exercises: Communication

  • Imagine that you have AIDS/HIV, but you have kept it a secret. Write a poem explaining why you have kept this secret. What are you afraid will happen if you tell people that you have AIDS? What are the consequences of this decision? Are you putting others at risk? Are you cutting yourself off from the love and understanding of others? Imagine that you told your secret. What unexpected things might happen? What good would come of telling your secret?

  • Think of someone you love. What would you want to tell him/her if he/she just told you that he/she had just been diagnosed with AIDS/HIV. Would you comfort them? Would you offer words of hope? What advice would you give them? Now, write a poem in the form of a letter, or a conversation. Or just describe this interchange between you and someone you love.

  • Imagine that you have learned that you are dying. What would you want to say to the people you love most in the world? How would you comfort them? How would you like to be remembered? Every time they heard a certain song or ate your favorite food or smelled a special scent? What will you miss most about them, or the world? How can they comfort you as you prepare to leave life as you know it and enter into the unknown world of dying?

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This article was provided by AIDS Poetry Project. It is a part of the publication AIDS Workbook 2.