Sunday, November 26, 2017

On PrEP or on Prayer [“when i say pre-exposure prophylaxis”] by Sam Sax

On PrEP or on Prayer [“when i say pre-exposure prophylaxis”]

when i say pre-exposure prophylaxis

you think

easy fix. greek in origin. an act of guarding.
east of here a small temple.
inside parishioners strip nude
as armless statues, their stone
genitals hardening under a chemist’s glare.
the garden out front fecund & tended.
the garden inside bare.

when i say tenofovir disoproxil

you think

chemical names. saint names. names without origin.
an unpronounceable string of letters. the generic names
of petty angels. the drug’s molecular makeup applied in
& around the eyes & lips. the names of viruses & blind trials.
the kept-vial of love. the unknowable side effects of blood.

when i say oral emtricitabine

you think

once a day swallow a small sun
& all hymn in you comes undone

the way a lit match deads the smell
of a public bathroom

when i say nucleotide analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor

you think

thirsty epidemic
you push the blue pill through its foil

you know each new medicine trails
our dead behind it like wedding cans

you can hear them now can’t you?


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