After Learning My HIV Is Undetectable, It’s As If I’ve Never Seen the Trees Breathing on the Mountaintop in the Distance
which might explain why my limbs slacken as if I’m crossing the threshold into a brand-new house, barely able to turn the key in my new key hole that opens a new door into a home so desperately empty yet utterly pristine with its white walls, the aroma of lemon-scented Pine Sol, but also the lingering gloss of linoleum scrubbed clean, each cranny like a dried-out ravine I become almost devastated to the point of a nervous breakdown as if somehow I could in an instant lose it all—the beauty of the well-kept oak cabinetry, the fluorescent glow inside the ceiling’s frosted globe light fixtures, three bedrooms, any one of them I can choose to belong only to me, but especially the windows so abundant all I can relish is the possibility of so much natural light rousing me as I wander each room all day until the day falls away like a scab, until what’s left is the vibrant wound of night with its stars & moon & haze of mountaintops pulsing with all these breathing trees in the distance that surely, come each evening, I’ll be beholden, twisting open the vertical blinds to lean in so close to the pane my breath will appear parceled against the glass as if the last breath I’ll ever take, this breath condensing like tears on the glass, like dew falling from tree leaves to the grass I’ll feel slick against the soles of my bare feet whenever I step outdoors marveled by a kernel of want fleshed out to a full-bloomed sensation to live in this house forever, even if an empty space still in need of furniture, a perennial wreath to hang on the door, a WELCOME mat large enough for as many visitors as I can stand.
Darius Stewart is the author of The Terribly Beautiful (2006) and Sotto Voce (2008), each of which was an Editor’s Choice Selection in the Main Street Rag Poetry Chapbook Series, as well as The Ghost the Night Becomes (2014), winner of the 2013 Gertrude Press Chapbook Competition for Poetry. Other poems have appeared in Bloom, Assaracus, Callaloo, Meridian, the Potomac Review, two volumes of the Southern Poetry Anthology, the Best Gay Poetry 2008, Verse Daily, and several others. He received his MFA from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied at the Michener Center for Writers as a James A. Michener Fellow in poetry. He currently resides in Knoxville, TN with his dog, Philip J. “Fry.”