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Asking for PrEP

The nurse asks me about risk factors and
I don’t tell her that sometimes love is shaped
like fingers folded into fists that feel
like the brink between pinch and seized piston

So instead I say

I was born during the plague
under the sign of the pig
which makes me young enough
for panic to have never kissed me like that

but old enough to worry constantly
every time my body is gifted and split
and I call it safer but I cannot pretend
I don’t know men unwound down to bone

I know it’s better now, but I describe why
I can barely afford sex that doesn’t kill me
how we are tender and raw, tendon and maw
and the terror of asking feels half new to me.

I’m sorry—I tell her—I’m not usually this optimistic.


Anthony Moll is a queer poet, essayist and educator. They are the author of Out of Step: A Memoir, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Non/Fiction Collection Prize. Anthony is a PhD candidate in English, and they hold an MFA in creative writing & publishing arts from University of Baltimore. Their forthcoming collection of poems, You Cannot Save Here, won the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize. It will be available in September 2022 from Washington Writers Publishing House.

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