Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.
At The New York City AIDS Memorial
by Stefania Gomez
Your absence is a bisected city
block where a hospital once stood.
The footprint of a yellow house on Providence’s east side
we once shared. Demolished. A white pickup you drove
decorated with black dice. The ground beneath it
crumbled—poof—then paved over, engraved like verses
into stone. When I was told what happened to you,
I sank to the wet floor of a bar’s bathroom, furious
that you left us to reassemble ourselves
from rubble. To build, between subway stops,
some saccharine monument
pigeons shit on, empty except for a circle of queens
chattering, furnishing the air like ghosts. Your death
means I’m always equidistant from you,
no matter where I travel, where I linger,
misguided, hopeful. Last night, by candle light,
a woman unearthed me.
Together, she and I grieved
the impossibility of disappearing
into one another. Poof. Since you died,
erasure obsesses me. Among the photos at the memorial,
one of a banner that reads WHERE IS YOUR RAGE?
ACT UP FIGHT BACK FIGHT AIDS, carried by five
young men. Your face in each. Your beautiful face.
Copyright © 2022 by Stefania Gomez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
About the Author
Stefania Gomez is a queer writer, teacher, and audio artist from Chicago’s South Side who received her MFA in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis in 2022. Currently teaching at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, she has received fellowships from the Dirt Palace, Sewanee Writers Workshop, and the International Quilt Museum. Her work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series, The Missouri Review, The Offing, and Cosmonauts Avenue.
Queer Poem a Day
- Day 1: Self Portrait as a Body, a Sea by Donika Kelly
- Day 2: Birthday Suits by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza
- Day 3: Obsessions by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué
- Day 4: The Baby Inside My Baby by Nomi Stone
- Day 5: To Be Saved by CM Burroughs
- Day 6: At the New York City AIDS Memorial by Stefania Gomez
- Day 7: Love in the Time of PrEP by Jaques Rancourt
- Day 8: The Morning After by Ellen Bass
- Day 9: Argument of Situations by Shangyang Fang
- Day 10: Ode to Sneakers by Tory Adkisson
- Day 11: Boombox Ode: Enjoy the Silence
- Day 12: Soon by Makshya Tolbert
- Day 13: Photograph by Jenny George
- Day 14: Salt Lake City by Christian Gullette
- Day 15: Humpty Dumpty by Spencer Reece
- Day 16: The Antihero by Megan Fernandes
- Day 17: On Growing Bored with Synonyms for the Apocalypse, I Rename It Carl… by C. Russell Price
- Day 18: All My Friends are Sad & Bright by Cameron Awkward-Rich
- Day 19: 2000 miles and this is the love letter I send you over text by Noa/h Fields
- Day 20: Book VI from The Queerness of Eve by Emilia Phillips
- Day 21: Oracle by Ari Banias
- Day 22: gxrl gospel iv: beast of a southern wild by Aurielle Marie
- Day 23: Let There Be Pride by Richard Blanco
- Day 24: Jacob Riis Memorial Beach by Stephen Ira
- Day 25: from Dependence, the Joistrix / How you are made by Emily Martin
- Day 26: The Need for Repitition by Jim Whiteside
- Day 27: Arm’d and Fearless by Julian Gewirtz
- Day 28: Polyamory by Madeleine Cravens
- Day 29: GPOY as Rainbowfrog.gif by Aerik Francis
- Day 30: Gay Epithalamium by Benjamin Garcia
Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.