there was a tent on the pavement
inside the tent was a lady
offering free HIV tests

A quick pin prick to the finger
and then you wait.
The mind begins to panic
‘what if I am HIV positive?’
‘what will I do?’
and then
thinking back to the casual encounters with strange women
fuck
there were some dodgy decisions over the years
but I’ll blame it on the drink

the little device shows up a colour
it’s negative
which is positive

the ‘what if’ life changing thoughts are now out of my head
and my day carries on
walking around Carltonville

life is a gamble
sex is essential

a bright shining white flip flap in the wind
catches my eye
ooh, it’s a girl
I have not seen one of those in a few days
approach anxiety sets in
c’mon
ok use the easy opener
‘can I take a photo of you?’

it works,
but I am irritated with myself as soon as I say it
as I know how the photo will turn out
a straight up portrait
and
it is too easy to use your device to open someone

I take a couple of photos
she picks up her bag and walks away
without saying a word

maybe she got bad news from the lady in the tent
maybe she saw me come out of the tent and thought
‘why would he go into the tent?’

whatever
I don’t have AIDS!
and I don’t drink anymore!