November #41 : Verse: Amirah - by Laura Whitehorn

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Table of Contents

Organizing Inside

Concealed Weapon

Long Day's Journey

Lethal Lottery

Natural Bootleg

Double-Crossed

One for the Books

Flying Ace

Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Hatch a Plan

Signs of Life

The Trouble With Norvir

Engine No. 48,000

S.O.S.

To the Editor

None the Wiser

Tomato, Tomahto

Enter at Your Own Risk

Say What

Swim Lessons

Stigma Enigma

Daddy’s Helper

Nushawn on the Block

Privacy Parsed

Equal Protection for All

“Just Say No” to Welfare

Ms. Thurman Goes to Washington

POZ Picks

Show and Tell

The Eye in the Storm

Get Our Phil

POZarazzi: AIDS! The Musical

Verse: Amirah

Obits

One for the Books

Flying Ace

Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Hatch a Plan

Poetic License

Poetic License

The Vision Thing

Stop the World, I want to Get Off

Surviving Behind the Walls

Prick and Tell

The Bitter End

Draining the Reservoirs

Testosterone Beats Fatigue

Carnitine Boosts CD4s

Multivitamins for Moms

Bleach Works

HIV Med Line

Weight List

Do the Hustle

A Mantra a Day

Attack of the Monster Combo

Helper Cells

He Still Is What He Is

Dark Secrets



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


email print

November 1998

Verse: Amirah

by Laura Whitehorn

(Pamela Cooper, who died March 22, 1995)

You walked the earth deliberately,
solid-thighed,
heavy-treaded,
laden
with Koran, Langston Hughes
    and oranges,
gifts of work and words
for anyone in need.

Transplanted to DC,
you stayed rooted
in North Carolina soil,
something sweet,
aroma of molasses and sugar
hanging round your neck.

We talked endlessly
in your overheated cell
(sometimes without words),
reveled in remembering
Malcolm X, Myrlie Evers,
    Angela and Assata,
read our calendar every day,
shared what we knew,
tolled the births and deaths
    of heroes and heroines,
learned to celebrate
the women.

You were burdened
by the weight you always
    worried about,
never had time to lose.
(I wondered how you managed
    to gain,
always giving away your food
to anyone who was hungry.)

Ripped apart by prison transfers,
a year later you joked
on the phone
that AIDS had finally resolved
    your weight problem.

Your voice
grown thin and reedy
through the wires
while you lay wasting
still whispers in my memory
of your decision to die,
unable to love yourself
as well as you loved the rest of us.
“She won’t eat,”
the nurse complained.

Now the weight problem
is mine, my heart too heavy
for my chest to carry.
As usual, you were quite fearless,
capable of handling
    your own death,
while I,
two years later,
am still trying to lose
this stone of grief.




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