Immuno-Heavy | Aces Lira

The knots of responsibility weigh on me.
Anxiousness creeps
for cuddles,
when all I want is peace.
You said you understood and I was tied, convinced.

I know that people grow.
You never grew out of selfishness.
Telling me you want something serious but
Opening myself you changed your mind.
Words:promising but gestures:confusing.
Slight hints over time of your misled company
, double standards ,
nonetheless we continued.

Always a joy to have people at their best.
Journeyed into the caves of each other.
But with the grounding features of life, you hesitated,
“I want you
but not the full extent of you”
Family crisis and my body becomes income
Unfamiliar territory of what it’s like to love me in chaos

My blood, declared poison.
My mind, the vacuum of debt.
My body, a territorial battle.
But you can’t share what was never yours.
Underlying contradiction:
You tried sharing what was never yours

Back and forth, we share our care for each other.
Why we strayed so far from monogamy:
“I don’t want to hold you down”
But fingers never working the knots,
Phone lines pulling tightly.
I exposed my body in exchange for carceral freedom.
You exposed yours in carnal pursuit.
Angry that I’d be so reckless.
Angry now that I’m not reckless enough.

Time apart and my heart still craved for you.

Global strife, surfacing parts you kept secret
just to play nice.
Coughing up truth when alcohol gave you courage.
You took the mask off with terrible timing.
Brave enough now,
to stab a wound.
And still ask to stay a bleeding friend

I wasn’t enough then and I’m still not enough now.
But I missed my early window to flag it down.
I’m unshackled yet still tied.
It’s a painful mid-flight.
Revisiting remains with the clarity from rainclouds.
There were so many windows,
Shards of glass open to cracked gardens.
I tried propagating the roses you gave me
Those attempts to hide your drunk truth
You tried and i tried,
hoping to bury the echoes
Calling me boring, removed, unloved
The stems had no chance, when they were empty to begin with

You often forget.
My blood connection to sacrifice.
An era predates me.
We were held responsible then and we try to be responsible now.
But respectability didn’t save us.
Actions driven by love did.
Keeping you far was my move,
to protect

Did you respect me then
your unloved friend?
I want to cherish the people I breathe into in distance
Can you trail our breath and follow your asymptomatic footsteps?
Trace the calls when you made it evident,
You care for yourself.
Made the weight on my shoulders tense,
expecting me to carry you,
When I’m burdened to carry public health by the rope stretcher.
We’ve always been connected yet I’m steering in the dark.
I’m breathing through
the rope burns now.

Your heart with poor prognosis,
Pumping blood that’s toxic.
I wish you well.
Continue getting tested, maybe then you’ll think of me
Continue getting PrEPped, maybe then you’ll forget me
Continue on,
so I’ll be a quiet

Aces Lira a graduate student locked up in a social distancing tower, Aces (he/him) is a self-taught digital artist and queer advocate. Aces based in Chicago, Illinois and is a Gran Varones Fellow.

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