Class of ’81 by Susan Beall Summers

Posted: October 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

(the first graduating class to live and die with AIDS)

At first, it was some gay disease
from that flight attendant who had sex
with random men all over the world
and then we learned
about bath houses
multiple partners in a single night
and we gasped
and hid our titillation

or maybe it was eating monkeys
— a mutated virus
from the brains of monkeys,
a delicacy eaten warm with a spoon
or from green monkey meat,
whatever that was

or was it sex with sheep
over there in some foreign land.

Surely, it had nothing to do with us—
teenage heterosexuals in rural South Georgia—
only not all of us were heterosexual
and none of us took it very seriously

now — herpes was real
as an outbreak swept the college campus,
we whispered behind closed doors
who had it
where she got it

and gonorrhea, of course,
just need some penicillin,
and some of us remained
good Southern virgins
with discreet abortions
while some got sick and died
of AIDS related ignorance.

Susan Beall Summers is an Austin, TX poet active at local open mics and events including Austin International Poetry Festival. She has been published in Di-Verse-City (an anthology of AIPF), Ilya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Small Canyons, Harbinger Asylum, and others. Her first collection is Friends, Sins and Possibilities (DreamersThreePress, 2011)

  1. […] Source: Class of ’81 by Susan Beall Summers […]


  2. Noreen Carden says:

    Brilliant poem Susan. Congratulations


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