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By Peter Scalpello

Blood samples. Three pulsing vials.
Torrent, exhale, trickle.
Have you heard of prep? I mean
tenofovir emtricitabine, I mean
Descovy, Truvada?

Trials. Paris, Cameroon, Cambodia.
I wept, as blood performs
an act of betrayal. The fire inside
200mg moves me forward.
What have I learned?

To prick. A caring kind of violence.
Dismantle my fingerprint, snatch out
my sins. Consume and declare them on
cotton, pure, stain
a shameful crimson.

My sins, which you put there
with disinfected hands. Absolved I
play a hand in absolution.
Guarded façades remain

With trembling fists blindfold me, wrench
my mouth open and fill it with
Truvada. Each pill a sapphire relief.
Give me one for every soul I ever held inside me,
every [ ███ ] I [ ████ ] this year.

So cram me full, breach capacity
until I choke on my own salvation.
You upped the price and we bled. I spread
my whole and was fed
another chance, for another

chest, his arms and thighs
that grip my need. Still I bleed.
My status. Why
deny me this armour,
molecular affinity?

How could I evade

what has been handed to me

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