December 1994 / January 1995
AIDS Zen: A Visit to the Hospital
by Mark O'Donnell
Heavy rain outside has no effect in here.
Seeking a friend, they look away from ill strangers.
The beautiful bouquet might endanger his health.
It's not the bedpan so much as the loss of privacy.
Uneasy dad asks football scores: the four young men don't know them.
After jokes fail, silence as white as the room itself.
The feverish patient marvels at a tiny toy fire truck.
Is one's final Christmas therefore precious or trivial?
Hope is now a matter of perpetually deferred despair.
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