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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 4

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Yvonne Cabalona


Deep Winter

In the late 80s, toward the end of a course on human sexuality I was taking, our instructor told us she was inviting a young man afflicted with AIDS to address the next session. Several classmates chose not to attend, including a young pregnant woman who felt that breathing the same air as the AIDS victim was dangerous and could cause her to lose her baby.

I don’t remember his name or where he said he was from. It was evident he had once been a very handsome young man. He never took off his coat, despite the room’s warmth. He told us he would answer any questions we had except those regarding his family—he had been disowned. His eyes stared a bit blankly. His dark hair was disheveled and graying. His vulnerability was palpable.

We knew AIDS was fatal; our curiosity was in homosexuality. We asked about that. When he spoke of San Francisco, a smile lit his thin face, the only one he showed.

Listening to his tale, a fear suddenly came over me—I had a cold. I realized he was more in danger of catching my virus than I was of catching his.

deep winter
I time my breathing
with his

[Return to Author List, Vol 4 ]


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