Love at 19

wikimedia commons
 Stylized rendering of a cross-section of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
Los Alamos National Laboratory
In the Public Domain in the United States

i seldom think about you now,
the burn
in a box of parliaments long ago.

your fingers stained
with the dye
of his hair
in some alley

on black.

so many colors
there before i closed
my eyes to you
or was it you to me?

when it took you down,
that disease we didn't have a name for--
not then,

i sat on your bed
and fed you ensure
and told you about the
daughter i was pregnant with,
the one you wanted.

you died that night.
i saw the blinking light,
a message on a piece of tape.
but i knew
when i saw the light.

did i tell you
that i loved you then
i think i did.

i still do.

copyright/all rights reserved Audrey Howitt 2015

for Kerry's Challenge at Real Toads


  1. A heartrending story of a poem, Audrey. Kerry's prompt has pulled forth some deep stuff. I have to wait till morning to write mine, am exhausted. This is a sad and poignant poem to say good night on........beautifully written, deeply felt.

  2. What a stunning poetry to that terrible time (that seem to be forgotten) -- so stained with shame, yet now it seems forgotten...this got my heart beat for the loss.

  3. i feel the tenderness in your heart wrenching piece

    happy Valentines 2015

    much love...

  4. Your poem makes me think of all the heart-breaking stories people carry inside them.. each so specific to his or her own experience and yet universal enough to bring tears to a listeners eye. This is amazing.

  5. oh, ping to the heart...not only the closing of the eyes to each other...
    but the even more permanent loss of an exclamation point
    on the feeling...well written audrey....

  6. Those last four lines are soft, understated, and killer.

  7. This falls under my category of sweet also falls under my category of beautiful. The Daily Double for you today, my friend.

  8. This is so beautiful and so, so moving.

  9. Gosh! this was touching, beautiful and yet so riveting!

  10. One of those poems that changes the reader, that shifts paradigms and makes us bleed for the irony and the cruelty of life. Very fine writing.

  11. What a gripping, well-written poem.
    Brilliantine on black.
    I'm quite enamored of that.

  12. Sometimes a poem touches me deep--this is one of those times. Excellent writing.

  13. Agree with the comments above--so sad because of the content, but also sad because of your matter-of-fact and poignant presentation--really well done. Memorable. Thanks. k.

  14. You take me back. There were so many deaths, not all this personal. I remember how cigarettes dulled the emotions,the bedsides and the funerals. That blinking light got me. ALways say "I love you" too much, always.

  15. Heartbreaking...It reaches that painful place in all of us.

  16. Yes, heartbreaking .. and beautifully composed.

  17. What is the proper elegy for confused and half-enthused and misunderstood and forgotten love? This is a memory that isn't pulled out often because its so hurtful as it is mostly forgotten--whether for lack of heat or simply no proper place to keep it alive. Very plainly and directly spoken, exactly as one would to one dead of something long ago whose love was close but no cigar for the real thing, whatever that is. Stellar.

  18. Wow! And I say again, Wow! Really fine writing. " the burn extinguished in a box of parliaments long ago" . . . an indelible line of poetry.


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