they are handsome. perhaps had there been
a different set of good looks in any of them,
s/he would have stood out. the analogous looks
of one seem to nullify those of the others:
the beauty of flowers, the distinctive marks
of one, faithfully duplicated in the others,
they go to the beach each day with water bottles
from which they seem to be weaning
in an everlasting stream. they have their mores
and, these, like traffic lights, are obeyed.
they go to discos and dance the floor away.
always cheerful, the sun doesn't set in their face,
nor does the dark dim the glow of tanned skin.
never peccant, they live the day.
when one broke a leg, the others didn't fuss.
he hobble-crutched alongside. another,
after a motor-bike accident, was named horrors,
a variation of his own.
youth, comfortable with itself, is.
then, one grew quiet and taciturn. a pallor
creamed his tan. the others swam the brilliant
afternoon to a fatigue. on the sand,
the loner averred in anguish:
i have AIDS.
life, upside-down —
a schedule was set up.
and help was everyone
in singular intent to mitigate.
sometimes unsure, sometimes salving;
someone erred, someone saving.
all the time, unwavering.
youth can be, wondrously, fair.
By Arthur Yap
QLRS Vol. 1 No. 1 Oct 2001