Gnossienne No. 4

In the year since
I last saw you
your frame shrank
six or more inches
around the waist
a wasting
I need time
& a thousand
miles to notice
& now that I
am bathing you
like several
years ago
nothing changed
but numbers
& what’s a few
lesions between
old friends
when I know
your sponge
& my hands
are the first touch
gone ungloved
this whole year
my legs laced
over your legs
against the sides
of the tub
our old ritual
the gentle sweep
of my arm
a sweet arc
of eighth
notes floating
then falling
from the record
in the bedroom
yes I feel this
motion hides
your heaves
mark a moment
the scent
of your soap
its top notes
chamomile coconut
its mid notes
hard to say
its base notes
the virus

Scott Chalupa writes to live in an attic on the margin of Columbia, SC, where recently earned an MFA at the University of South Carolina. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The South Atlantic Review, HIV Here & Now, Tupelo Quarterlytap literary magazineJasper, and other venues.

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