Fall 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 3


Poetry    Reviews    Fiction   

Shawn Nacona Stroud


What We're Spared

for Kevin R. Wood

Yes, of course! This is
what it feels like---
I'd seen it on TV shows
like ER and Strong Medicine:
those countless dead as they gasp
out their last breath, just as
they settle into the stillness
which looks very much like sleep.
I watched it with the indifference
of one who presumes immunity
from such pain, cut off,
as if viewing it through a window.
Only now the beep of your heart monitor
surrounds me, the smell of death
stings my nose, and I feel your skin
grow cold as I grasp your toes.
This is what we're spared
through the glass tubes as we watch
numb in our living rooms. This,
and the emptiness that makes you
feel just as much a corpse.


When Your World Tilts

for Kevin

nothing is upside down
like one would expect things
to be. The moon still pursues
our sun across the sky
as if it were a criminal
it can never apprehend. Darkness
remains hitched to it, a banner of night
is dragged over the Earth.

You go out for an evening
walk, and confused birds sing
in their usual way to a dawn which doesn't arrive. Alive,
you strut like the pedestrians
your heels rap past along the way---
they do not suspect a thing,
to them you are everyone else.
Only you feel the disease eat
at you; that piranha which consumes you
inside, only you can see the HIV
while it gradually siphons your life.


The Last Time

for Kevin

The last time we laid together
tangled in our sheets, his head turned

and I looked through the darkness
into his eyes. His black sockets

searched mine, and the world
seemed to slow to a stillness

in which his rattled breaths were the only sound.
His sweat-chilled hand gripped mine

as he spoke what I'd known for a week:
soon I'll drift off to sleep, I won't wake up

. Then his choked snores echoed
through the room like damnation,

the music of death I'd learned to doze to
when I'd nod off and live his end once more.



for Kevin

He raises his arms
in the shadows of his bedroom
like charcoal colored wings;
an Angel of death arched
above me---how I burn
for him to love me. Outside,
a Florida thunderstorm bucks the oaks
the way his body heaves
against mine, it's divine
how he sacrifices me
on the altar of his bed. Tonight,
death tastes like the Colgate
he brushes against my lips,
feels like the way he spears me
with each thrust of his hips, it runs
off his skin warm as blood.
Lord, the thrust of his rod stabs me
deep, the virus that spills out
will one day lull me to sleep.


© Shawn Nacona Stroud



Poetry    Reviews    Fiction   

Website Copyright © 2009 by Loch Raven Review.

Copyright Notice and Terms of Use: This website contains copyrighted materials, including, but not limited to, text, photographs, and graphics. You may not use, copy, publish, upload, download, post to a bulletin board. or otherwise transmit, distribute, or modify any contents of this website in any way, except that you may download one copy of such contents on any single computer for your own personal non-commercial use, provided you do not alter or remove any copyright, poet, author, or artist attribution, or any other proprietary notices.