For three years I’ve been

Emile Zola’s character

Madame Raquin, already

paralyzed and mute when I learn

my only child, my son,

was murdered by his wife,

the niece I raised like a daughter,

and her lover, now husband,

my son’s friend and co-worker.

She and he are now my caretakers.

I gave them my life savings

before paralysis claimed me.

And this is no metaphor.

It’s real. I am paralyzed,

there’s nothing I can do, having learned

three years ago that my friends’

deaths by AIDS were really death

by doctor, by error, a series of them.

Sixteen years ago I was added to the list

of those they mean to kill.

I cannot move or speak.

The world goes on, unaware of

this vivid terror, my everyday life.


— Greg Baysans

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