The Sickness
John Grey

Dan and Rich have AIDS.
Their bodies are skin and bones.
And the skin is loose
and the bones at all odd angles.
When they walk,
it's like their skeletons
are prisoners
trying to break out.

It's no longer a secret.
Death speaks loud -
to family, friends,
but mostly, to each other.

They were too late
for the good pills,
and the support services
failed to support,
provided no service
that helped worth a damn.

Right now,
they're just hanging on -
for Dan's birthday,
for Christmas,
who knows.
Maybe just for the next
warm and sunny day.

They hold hands in public these days,
not caring who sees.
Some passerby sneers
that they don't know what
the world is coming to.
Sometimes, Dan and Rich overhear.
They know the world

and it is already here.