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  • Jennifer Preston Chushcoff


At the Tacoma Art Museum for World AIDS Day Dec 1st

I was honored to read my response to TAM’s Art AIDS America exhibit. After walking through the galleries, I wrote the following poem.


Dedicated to the many unknown women who tended AIDS patients when all others turned away. I only know of their existence and contribution because of the Tacoma Art Museum’s exhibit, Art AIDS America.

There is a desert that waits for water. No. It doesn’t wait. It burns, it falls in on itself it shakes its brittle layers into sheets of dry parchment an ancient, lost lakebed its back sunburnt into split layers of fractured skin ruptured.

Now. Can you feel the need? Can you sense this eager thirst?

“Before I leave. Before I go away for good,” it seems to say “Know that I am here underneath this stricken pose. Know that I am here. I am here in this wasteland where drought has dried my bones.”

And you are the answer you are the deluge, the cloudburst you are the rainstorm you are the fresh, green field the cool hands of quiet night. You are the clean breeze of late autumn afternoons. Redemption is written on your skin your soft touch something so simple, so free to give.

The desert is growing. The desert is gone.


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