Cherie's Poem

“Mom, I have AIDS.”

Her sallow pale face stares up at me.
Her sad childish eyes beg me for help.
Her shoulders fall into her frail body
As she slowly sinks into a mournful sigh.

“Make it better, please make it go away.
You always know what to do and say.
You can because you love me and you
Take care of me. I don’t want to die.”

She is the fragile infant in my arms.
She is the toddler scraping a tender knee.
She is the child with a broken doll
That I now clutch to my aching heart.

“My doctor says there is a new medicine
That has just been approved by the FDA.
It is in high demand and I’m one of the first
To try it, because…because I might die soon.”

I stroke her long hair, holding her close.
I can’t let her see the disbelief on my face.
I call her father and break the news
And listen to his agonizing cry.

“Her doctor says there is a new medicine
That has just been approved by the FDA.
It is in high demand and she’s one of the first
To try it, because…because she might die soon.”

I tell my family, neighbors and friends.
I speak with optimism about possibilities.
I hear their sympathy as they turn away.
They can’t let me see their own disbelief.

“Her doctor says there is a new medicine
That has just been approved by the FDA.
It is in high demand and she is one of the first
To try it, because…because she is quite ill.”

I watch her body wither and convulse.
I carry food to her because she is too weak.
I count out the profusion of pills
And keep hidden my own private fear.

“Your doctor says it is a new medicine
That has just been approved by the FDA.
It is experimental and no one knows,
But you are one of the first…and there is hope.”

Her face looks up at me, stronger than before.
Her somber eyes still appeal to me for help.
Her shoulders lift her frail young body as
She anticipates a mother’s miracle.

“Her doctor says it is a new medicine
That has just been approved by the FDA.
It is experimental and no one knows,
But way too many people have died so far.”

I see myself as my mother’s unwilling heir.
I watched her bury a favorite child.
I still see the vacant wrenching stare
That never left her saddened face.

Behind closed doors, I cry.

by Bonnie Moore

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