On Seeing the AIDS Quilt at the Field House

This room is too colorful.
A gathering of fabric tombstones
Cotton, satin,
Photographs under vinyl.

Each quilt is
A bon voyage
When get well wouldn’t do.
People come, place pale carnations
Done up in green paper
From the grocery store.
And leave.

Like some weird religious sect,
Shrouded all in white
Replace the stock of tissues.
They read names over loudspeakers
Taking turns
With the women’s chorus.

The dying loved their pets,
They posed with them.
Walked with his Boston terrier
Through blue paint
Then headed diagonally north,
Left only a photograph of the two of them
And those blue foot falls.

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