Man in the Mirror

Cigarette burning in the ashtray
empty bottles before a belching belly

down the street
he finds a bed beside a gutter
and when he finds his feet,

a punching bag in the sleepless face
of a woman waiting by the window

fear in the face, screams from the scene,
tears in the eyes, blood in the nose, body on the floor

(silence)

his face falls on the mirror
away from the lifeless-looking face:
Tell me it’s not true
Tell me it’s not true
I’ve AIDS
Or just let me die
let me die!

Make me live like this

(silence)

I’ll kill the man in the mirror

(culled from a collection of poems in progress, Ripples Across Lives: Poetry against HIV/AIDS).