This poem was created from an interview conducted with Perth-based artist and activist Janet Carter and examines her first experiences with HIV and AIDS here in WA. Quotes from Janet’s interview appear as italics.
On James Street, there is a door. Beyond, a flight of stairs.  They lead to an ocean. Not a real ocean. More a place where people stop themselves from drowning.
My people.
Before white-stained reefs, a room full of grief.
There are people over east that we know… and they are dying.
Mirror-balls, smoke machine, tap beer.
Gay, high camp disco anthems.
Because what is an anthem if not a way to say: we are here, this sweat the salt lung of our bodies. Dance with us.
But you don’t dance. You watch. Observe souls drawn into breath of light, swinging arc of tide. Hold each other tight.
At the edge, personalities pool. Keep an eye on you.
A circle of obligation and care.
From the surf emerges a boy made of glass, a page of cups. Custodian of the empties. He who cleans up. Blonde god, so handsome he rocks the sure line of men. Makes them froth.
Doesn’t go home with any of them.
Instead, finds you. As way of introduction says:
It is a real pleasure having you here.
You know how some people can make you feel instantly welcome? That’s him.
I wish I could remember his name.
You see his light: a gliss of little fish, opalescent shimmer shift. A guide. How it helped him survive Sydney, London, New York, Berlin.
But now, the ink of othering ripples through his system. He is unbuckling. Sometimes we return home, sick.
We realised it was no longer a not-over-there disease.
One night, he offers you a glass. You drink, feel his little fish of hymn enter you. It is tail flick. Hunger. Oar that helps you swim. 
The epidemic had started to bite in our town.
You cannot see the shark tooth maw inside this boy until, one day, he is not there anymore.
That’s when I knew: he wasn’t coming back.
When you connect the spume, constellate a path back through, you take the little fish out dancing. Witness wave encroaching.
Beneath mirror-balls, a squall: more and more bodies wash up, wash away.
In time, you come to name the little fish, that swimming gift behind your ribs. You become harbour. You pass it on as shoal, as school. Scales caught in the glass of once-was boy. Handsome surfer god, broken, as if sea. 
You name the little fish In Memoriam. Ocean keeps on rolling.