As I have already said, the statistics-figures-regarding HIV infection are fraught with complications, not merely because they are changing so rapidly, but because they have an uncanny way of slipping into figuration. This means two things: on the one hand, these numbers seem to lift off the page and signify to us something other than literal, living, dying men and women. On the other hand, they are often read too literally-as representing the "reality" of a situation that is in fact much more complex, and implicates many more people. But here they are-the figures provided us by the WHO and the CDC: in 1995, all twenty of the countries worldwide with provisional HIV infection rates topping 3% of the population were in Africa and the Caribbean.! Currently in the United States, more than 50% of reported AIDS cases are among blacks and hispanics. Among women, it is more than 75%.2 Here in New York City, 67% of men, 87% of women and 92% of children diagnosed with AIDS through March, 1997

So ]es Grew is seeking its words. Its text. For what good is a liturgy without a text?4