Her Final Show

Campo, Rafael

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
  • Date of entry: Jul-07-1999
  • Last revised: Dec-01-2006


This poem by physician, Rafael Campo, is No. 5 in the sequence, "Canción de las Mujeres" ("Song of the Women"). A drag queen is dying of AIDS, as she and the physician try to maintain her dignity and her identity. "Her shade of eye shadow was emerald green; / She clutched her favorite stones."

The patient is resigned, "almost at peace" while she remembers the strength that she drew from the community of drag queens who were her friends, now dead. The physician turns up the morphine drip, and straightens her wig, "[b]efore pronouncing her to no applause."


The physician allows this patient, who is not in the cultural mainstream, to maintain her selfhood even as she is dying, and insists that the reader do the same ("her," "she"). Analogously, it appears that patient and doctor have made a pact to end her life peacefully (with morphine): the poem begins with his observation that "She said it was a better way to die / Than most." One presumes that the patient is not referring to her disease.

Primary Source

What the Body Told


Duke Univ. Press

Place Published

Durham, N.C.