When I went to New York, to bring
my brother home, he was well
into the wasting of the disease.
He looked like an animated corpse.
He asked me to hold him, to share
his bed -- it had been so long
since he'd been touched, held, by
anyone. And so I did; as I did when
Judd made the same request, years
later. There is something inexpressible
about sleeping in an embrace with a man
you love -- however you love him --
waking in the night to feel his bones,
the nearness of his death, in your arms.
As I write this, I sit in my bright sunroom.
The parakeets sing for their supper; sun
gleams on the snow in the garden. I am
eating a slightly over-ripe apple --
I am contained in life, breathing long past
many of those I have loved. The white
orchid opens. It smells sweet.