for all the friends who have died of AIDS

I carry you on my back
I carry every one of you
who have died
on my back

You are not a burden
your weight is exalting
each one of you
is another feather
in my arched wings

You carry me
every one of you
carries me higher and higher
into my life
into the physical life
I live
for every one of you

When I sleep, you sleep too
when I dance, you dance too
when I pray, you are praying with me
and every time I kiss another man
each one of you
pressed up behind my lips
is drinking too
swan, hummingbird, eagle, angel

--Andrew Ramer (2003)