How long? Weeks, months.
I remember months, years, and now, still.
I remember young men who were old.
I remember miles and miles of quilted squares.
I remember a quilt so big it became a problem
to store, to show, to display.
I remember a president who would not say the name of a disease.
I remember carrying my list of names to a microphone,
reading the list to the bottom and then, a hammer dropped,
reading the name of a friend.
Where was the alarm back then?
Back in the day? Where was it at the start?
Yes, I know– it was only addicts and gay men,
as so many said.
Not as contagious, I know. Not as easily spread.
But as I don my face mask and gloves,
I shake my head, my eyes fill with tears,
I remember Tim, I remember Chuck, I remember Alan,
I remember more, I remember them all.
And I think what if? What if there had been this panic then?
What if a president had said its name, had even discussed it early on?
Would so many have died? Would there be a vaccine, a true cure?
Well, it seems we face the same problem now, a hoax it was.
Then it would go away. We were prepared. All the garbage of presidents
Afraid of viruses and the party platforms and elections.
Finally, it seems we ask when will lives matter?
I am a retired teacher, enjoying everything that retirement means. In addition, I have been active in the LGBTQ community since I was four years old and marched my Ken doll with all his little Ken accouterments to the big metal trash can in the yard. Yes, I dumped Ken, along with said accouterments, into the can and slammed the lid on. My two Barbie dolls lived happily ever after.
You can read more of my writing at Hearing The Mermaids Sing