When he saw a sign at the Castro bus stop:
“No judgmental bullsh * it, free HIV”
it ignited a shattering recall of when she left.

He shivered and shook in unfathomable pain
as if cold winds blew, though the fog had lifted
and the heat of the sun burned through.

When she returned he was brought to his knees
inhaling her scent of blossoming Jasmine, waiting
for test results before their fractured bond healed.

He blurted “I’ve held many things in my hands
and lost quite a few, but holding the contours
of your arms, I’ve never lost my love for you.”

Professing his overwhelming love for her, she replied,
“Oh, that’s only that red tongue of your groin speaking.”
She had to run away from being loved.

Milton P. Ehrlich