The Abdominal Exam

Before the glimmer of his sunken eyes,
What question could I answer with my lies?

Digesting everything, it’ s all so plain
In him, his abdomen so thin the pain

Is almost visible. I probe the lump
His boyfriend noticed first, my left hand limp

Beneath the pressure of the right. With AIDS
You have to think lymphoma — swollen nodes,

A tender spleen, the liver’ s jutting edge —
It strikes me suddenly I will oblige

This hunger that announces death is near,
And as I touch him, cold and cavalier,

The language of beneath the diaphragm
Has told me where it’ s coming from

And where I’ m going, too: soft skin to rocks,
The body reveling until it wrecks

Against the same internal, hidden shoal,
The treasures we can’ t hide, our swallowed gold.