Sunday, April 16, 2017

National Poetry Month: Dustin Brookshire


"First AIDS Test"
(Dustin Brookshire)

I was 19 when I had my first
AIDS test; no longer a virgin or
why else would we have
made that 15 minute drive
that seemed like 15 hours
to the testing center.
I had to go because of you,
but I can't blame you alone--
no, I was stupid, I let you
slide into me uncovered.
I let you enter me,
and the foolish part of
my brain gagged the sensible
part before it could say,
'This shouldn't happened.'
The foolish part of my brain
gagged and tied the sensible
part and quietly tucked her
away out of sight so he
could be heard and say,
'Let's get this started.'
Every time you entered me
I felt loved.
Every time you entered me
I trusted you more.
I craved you; you were my first.
And it was after six months
of our love making,
well, my love making
your lust indulging,
that I found out you shared
your bed with others---
so many others.
I shuddered.
I cried.
I screamed at God,
but it wasn't His fault.
It was yours;
it was mine.
And that's when I made
you take me to get the test.
I made you pay for it.
I refused to let you touch me after;
I refused to listen to your I'm sorries.
I was trying to find a safe world
where every billboard read NEGATIVE.
I was having a dream with a beautiful song
and everyone singing sang NEGATIVE.
For two weeks I waited.
Two weeks of prayers, promises, and
thoughts of what I'd do to you
if my life took a viral change.
But in the end, it came out negative---
I was born to live again.

Dustin Brookshire's poem "First AIDS Test" was published online at SubtleTea. His 2012 book of poems, To the One Who Raped Me, is published by Sibling Rivalry Press.

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