Tested

Three years later I am still getting tested.
Six months, say the clinicians.
Eighteen years, a counselor friend told me.prpleflower

At first I felt like a paranoid het
sitting among legions of gay men
at the health clinic
but now more women are getting tested.

When I tested negative
a month after you died
I was dismayed.
The next time they took my blood
I was terrified, then relieved.
Now the whole thing has become
routine if not ritualistic.
When the needle pierces my skin
I remember telling you:
I regret nothing. Even if I get AIDS
I will regret nothing.
Perhaps you thought me mad:
I wasn’t sure.
By then you were hooked to a respirator
and never spoke again.

Except with your eyes.
They crinkled at the corners
when I reminded you of the morning
we’d clung to one another on Broadway
as cabs rolled by and I missed my flight.

The faint bruise on my arm
is oddly reassuring. Until
I get the results I repeat like a
mantra my resolve of no regrets.
So far
this
has not been tested.

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