when i say pre-exposure prophylaxis
easy fix. greek in origin. an act of guarding.
east of here a small temple.
inside parishioners strip nude
as armless statues, their stone
genitals hardening under a chemist’s glare.
the garden out front fecund & tended.
the garden inside bare.
when i say tenofovir disoproxil
chemical names. saint names. names without origin.
an unpronounceable string of letters. the generic names
of petty angels. the drug’s molecular makeup applied in
& around the eyes & lips. the names of viruses & blind trials.
the kept-vial of love. the unknowable side effects of blood.
when i say oral emtricitabine
once a day swallow a small sun
& all hymn in you comes undone
the way a lit match deads the smell
of a public bathroom
when i say nucleotide analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor
you push the blue pill through its foil
you know each new medicine trails
our dead behind it like wedding cans
you can hear them now can’t you?