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The Agnus Dei

We are shuffling
to the bathroom--
this train of two,
I the engine
and he the caboose.
I feel the weight
of his hands
on my shoulders
slowing my pace
to his direction.
So this death march
of one with AIDS
and another
of what to touch
and not touch,
of being there
for this short shift
of sitting with
the terminally ill
at the hospital.
Now he steers me
to a place
where he relieves

Sitting here
in the waning moments
of a spring concert--
a mass for two choirs--
the Agnus Dei--
I remember.

9 Apr 00

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