charlotte watson sherman


A woman comes to terms with her HIV positive diagnosis and life.

January 13, 1994

I wish I believed in Circe's God. Wish I could fall down on my knees and

pray, pull from that disintegrating well of Negro spirituals, get happy,

throw up my arms and run through the streets of this city with my skirt

hiked above my knees, crying out in this wilderness of isolation and death.

Wish I could look into the darkness of my future standing atop the bones

of the believers, the seers, those who can heal with their hands, can make

my flesh whole with their tears, the comforting holy water of their tears.

I wish I could stand in the center of the world surrounded by a gospel

choir in golden robes, the resolve in their faces lifting me up in the

arms of their belief, their voices rising like saviors to the heavens. I

wish I could turn this sorrow into a blessing. I wish when I looked inside

the hollow of my spirit, a starling of hope would rise inside me

fluttering for the first time up through the bitterness of my soul

breaking it down into something sweet like hope like forgiveness like


I wish I could feel anything other than the emptiness I feel when I think

about my spirit and ask God, why me?