before his corpse was washed.
I couldn’t get past the stench
of medicine, the thin skin and bones talking
from the wheelchair stopped me cold.
The virus had spread.
Lucas? Lucas… I didn’t recognize
the proud man I once knew.
He said: Come, give me a hug.
I held on to a chair worried
I’d faint, but I couldn’t betray
the hope invested in an embrace.
He found substance
in the gathering of friends.
I know because I am acquainted
With all my sins, the many ways
my fears have killed.
Sergio Ortiz has a B.A. in English literature from Inter-American University, and a M.A. in philosophy from World University. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming in: The Acento Review, Poesia, The Driftwood Review, Words-Myth, The Taj Mahal Review, and other journals and anthologies. His chapbook, At the Tail End of Dusk (2009), was published by Flutter Press.