We were friends for decades you and I

You were my neighbor though I swear your were birthed by my mother

It didn’t matter that we were black or white

What did matter was that on the pitch, we bled red; one for the other

Numerous are the walls you broke down for me

Countless were the hugs, high-fives and fist-bumps after every victory

This was our life and forever I imagined it would be

Oh the bliss, this was a sweet friendship dream till HIV split us as a team

It didn’t matter that we ate and drank from the same trough

Wild we were, not animals though

It didn’t matter that we had swapped sweaty shirts after football games

My heart still beats as strong as the tackles that won us trophies and fame

Now you don’t look at me the same

It didn’t matter, but it should matter, my solitude

This isn’t Facebook, I can’t change my status, perhaps you change your attitude

That my home is warm and spotless clean like the city Calgary

What weakens me more than my immune system is that you became judge and jury

It didn’t matter that HIV robbed me of my friend

It does matter that my spirit and smile does not end

The dreaded virus isn’t pleasant company

But like leech, it won’t float in the ocean of my self belief

You’ll always be my buddy, I know you’ll be enlightened

I know you will learn a handshake is not contamination

I know you’ll learn my thoughts about you won’t diminish

I’m sure my voice and yours can shatter the glass of discrimination

Without doubt you will learn the sea remains saline regardless of the fish that swims in it

I am still me regardless of HIV

And when I think back in a year or two after

I’ll be glad to tell folks that gather

To witness how we managed to beat stigma together

I’ll be glad to tell them

HIV, ….. We didn’t let it matter.