We Used To Kiss


(This poem is a dedication to the LGBTQ and growing community. In the 1980’s, many queer individuals lost their lives and loved ones due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I wrote this poem to celebrate these people and to revisit the cause.)

I wonder if it spreads. Your touch is a soliloquy that enhances every pardon. Your smile is sustainable liquid courage and you’re fire. When it spreads, I lift my hands in directions that transition into everything you could’ve been. I realized I’m reaching for thin air but I still see your name hanging onto nitrogen. I used to see you singing down blocks that lead to your disasters, and you danced around in commotion like it wasn’t going to define you someday. Your name is now written in three to four acronyms, and that’s the only time I knew I couldn’t spell.

Your breathing would huff to a chord and conciliate even minor injuries. I can’t hear you through machines and beeps that don’t pause—lines that draw zero conclusions, but the straight line is when you lose, right? You used to shiver at the sight of built pecs and chiseled jaw lines. Glances that could lead you anywhere, and you often found yourself foxtrotting on the moon. I used to know your shivers better than you do; now your crinkled lace shivers without ignition. You shudder inward and your heart seems to be the most stable thing about you.

I would look in and see panoramic sceneries of everything you could’ve been. The hourglass would clench on to the last drop of sand before time was through with you. Rain would gladly stand in for your tears, and I’m confident that the sol was your best friend. You just didn’t know it. I watched it spread out into the galavanting thieves that stole your rights away from everything you used to be. Those closed eyes used to talk—they used to shout, actually. You rambled with the end of your days and kissed the plague away.

You kissed it all away.

We used to kiss.

Why didn’t you let me kiss you back?