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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?
spare us your burial rites
spare us the first rib
the flood, the resurrection
spare us your dairy & meats
your belief in a life after this one
heaven’s a city
we’ve been priced out of
our mothers fled
for more affordable children
for the price of liver
heaven wants nothing
to do with pleasure
the occasion of my brother’s wedding
i need something awful
done to my body
heaven’s a boy
who wants me to crawl
through his mother’s midnight-window
heaven’s the condom splitting into light
heaven’s not a place
more a wound i make & pass through
when we’re done
he asks how many men
i’ve fucked this month
& not loved
spare me the quilt & blankets
spare me the look
in his eyes when he takes me
careful as a poison inside him
spare me the lecture
on the survival
of my body
& i will spare you