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