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Waiting for the HIV Test Results

by Brandi George

Day 1:  Existential Crisis

Microbes—I can feel them playing tag
in my neck.  They don’t love

me.  The skin around my brain has lost
its chlorophyll.  Photosynthesis.  Oblivion.

I’m lava in a box of ashes.  O
skin!  Rain down on me in puddles

I used to skip through, like matter,
like I matter on this earth.

Silly me, I wrenched the nose off
my ears.  Smell me in the summer—

blistered, childless, alone.  I’ll say
I love it all.  And I’ll be a liar.  Open

the box.  Go ahead.  Worms will fly
into your face, and you’ll smile.

Thank you!  What curious worms—
death, disease, death.  Curious

as I am, the sky won’t answer me, but creeps
inside my back with its poison

tentacles.  You shouldn’t have touched
my lip with your thumb.

Then, I wouldn’t be dying.  I wouldn’t know
the things we love are luminous

because death is a streetlamp.  Light shines brighter
in one eye, right wing beats like a storm-whipped flag.

Day 2:  Prayer

A lackadaisical genome, us.  The trees throw stars on me
so bright the sun would bleed out its hydrogen
to see.  Fly!  Your wings are big enough for two.

I blew this town Debbie-does-Dallas-style after the bark fell off
the only oak that hadn’t been hewn down.  O brutal father!
Infect me from where you hang.

Prostrate on the red carpet, stained glass cut
across my back, I let the wind blow the programs
from the pulpit, throw open my soul-flask

of McGillicutty.  You know me, Lord.  I’m the one
wearing dirty underwear, creeping from my boyfriend’s house
with JBF hair.  I’m ready for annihilation.  I get it – the universe

of helices, the collage of bones in a speck of dirt –
life is beyond sacred.  Each of us contains the spark
of creation, so it makes me crazy to think about Ebola,

the Holocaust, dead soldiers in a field.  I’m ready
for angels to fly inside my eyelids and sing “Bohemian Rhapsody,”
wake everything that ever lived until this world is a junkyard

of compressed skulls.  I beg you:  please, PLEASE don’t
hurt me; my limbs are icicles and my brain is music.
I break too hard and forever.

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