Dancing the AIDS/H.I.V. P.T.S.D. Blueshift Boogie

* blueshift *

My new lover sits on the bed’s edge
with his back to me, asks if I’ve been
reading the papers. No. Oh. He says
he’s been sleeping around. A lot. I
get angry. I didn’t know. He says I should
read the papers. Why?! He won’t answer.

* blueshift *

I go to the library. I read the papers.
What is this thing called PCP? How
do you pronounce Kaposi’s sarcoma? Do I
have bruises on me? Are they the wrong
kind of bruises? Every smudge of color
on my skin (purple, blue), scares me.

* blueshift *

“First you put your two knees close up tight.
Then you sway ’em to the left, and then you sway ’em to the right.
Step around the floor kinda nice and light…”
I break up with him. I’m never going to have sex again.
I’ll never have sex. I’ll never have sex. Never.
I click my heels. Dorothy, take me home to Kansas?

* blueshift *

They don’t have AIDS tests in Kansas yet.
God damn. What was I thinking? Do they even
have doctors? I mean doctors who know
what AIDS looks like? I can’t ask. I don’t know
anyone I can ask. Even if I did, I can’t get
the words out. Words logjam In my mouth.

* blueshift *

God bless Roger McFarlane! There’s a hotline now,
Lord love us, there’s a hotline. I call. It’s busy.
I try again. There’s a knock on the door. I hang up.
It’s later now. I keep trying. When I get through
I’m shaking. I tell him I’m scared. I tell him I
am. So. Scared. Then I start crying. Then I stop.

* blueshift *

If I have it, I should be sicker than I am.
That’s what they say. I’m not convinced.
If I get tested, it’ll go in my record. They say
they won’t tell anyone. I don’t believe them.
I leave the clinic without getting tested. I will
never have sex. Never. Who would want me?

* blueshift *

Okay, okay! He’s just so goddamn cute. We’ll both
get tested. There’s a free clinic in the city.
We drive over on the weekend. We give blood,
fake IDs, fake names, a friend’s address.
The results are negative. I don’t believe it.
I go back and get tested again. And again.

* blueshift *

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