The Man with Night Sweats
I wake up cold, I who Prospered through dreams of heat Wake to their residue, Sweat, and a clinging sheet. My flesh was its own shield: Where it was gashed, it healed. I grew as I explored The body I could trust Even while I adored The risk that made robust, A world of wonders in Each challenge to the skin. I cannot but be sorry The given shield was cracked, My mind reduced to hurry, My flesh reduced and wrecked. I have to change the bed, But catch myself instead Stopped upright where I am Hugging my body to me As if to shield it from The pains that will go through me, As if hands were enough To hold an avalanche off.
From Collected Poems by Thom Gunn. Copyright © 1994 by Thom Gunn.
The author of many collections of poetry, Thom Gunn's The Man with Night Sweats is a collection of poetry memorializing his friends and loved ones who had fallen victim to AIDS.
Date Published: 1994-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/man-night-sweats