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[Contribution] “Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome” by Sweta Vikram

           

          Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome

          According to AVERT, an international HIV and AIDS charity based out of UK, nearly a third of the long-distance truckers in India are carriers of the AIDS virus [1].


          White sheets of satin bury
          her desires forever as she roams

          around her solitary room,
          barefoot, with an infested

          womb that might never see a baby,
          red walls sunken where she once kept hopes hidden.

          She had trusted the man,
          who made sacred promises like religion. He spread

          love, blackberry preserve on bread—
          a disease at every stop his feet and truck made.

          [1] Pandey, A et al (2008) ’Risk behaviour, sexually transmitted infections and HIV among long-distance truck drivers: a cross-sectional survey along national highways in India’, AIDS 2008, 22(5): 81-90.

           

          Excerpt from “No Ocean Here” (Modern History Press, ISBN 978-1-61599-157-0)

           

           

          About the Author:

          Sweta Srivastava Vikram is an award-winning poet, writer, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, educator, and blogger. Born in India, Sweta spent her formative years between India, North Africa, and the United States. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry (“Kaleidoscope: An Asian Journey of Colors,” “Because All is Not Lost,” and “Beyond the Scent of Sorrow”) two collaborative collections of poetry (“Not All Birds Sing” and “Whispering Woes of Ganges & Zambezi”), a novel (“Perfectly Untraditional”), a nonfiction book of prose and poems (“Mouth full” upcoming in 2012), and a full-length collection of poems (“No Ocean Here” upcoming in 2013). Her work has also appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications across six countries in three continents. Sweta has won two Pushcart Prize nominations, an International Poetry Award, Best of the Net Nomination, Nomination for Asian American Members’ Choice Awards 2011, and writing fellowships. She has been selected by the Queens Council on the Arts as a participant for the 2012 Build Your Own Business for Writers Program and was short listed for the Independent Literary Awards. Taj Mahal Review describes her as “A poet with hauntingly beautiful talent.” Sweta has held several artist residencies in Europe and America and worked on collaborative projects with artists from Zimbabwe and Australia. A graduate of Columbia University, she reads her work, teaches creative writing workshops, and gives talks at universities and schools across the globe. Sweta lives in New York City with her husband. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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