Behind me there was an outbreak of the pox.
The disease as rare as fresh paint
Would take away millions, leave
Families of empty streets, apartment buildings
With lights on two floors only:
Tiny empty boxes separated by elevations of concrete.
I was heading North.
Alongside, the cholera was beginning:
Water being taken in by the thirsty
Like Bible stories, the dogma without the detail,
And to the same foggy end. No one
Spoke of it but the dehydrated
Did not wave as I passed.
No one asked of the news behind me,
Their hollowed eyes focused closer.
Anthrax lay ahead. Made into
An aerosol by the enterprising,
It was seeking the lungs of those
Who would be care givers, vying
With all the others to be
The chief disease. I know
There is no one germ or virus that rules:
The worst sickness is the one that kills you.
I was heading North,
As healthy as a white picket fence.
I had my food in a knapsack
And the best of the rain in two bottles.
I was as vivid as one of two farm animals
Used to breed fearlessly endless food stocks. As hale
As adolescent wood stacked against winter. God
Forgive me, I was whistling as I walked.
Ken Poyner divides his time between being an Information Systems manager, eye-candy at his wife's power lifting meets, and an on-again, off-again writer of whatever troubles him at the moment. He has had work in places from Poet Lore to Silver Blade, to Fleeting, Corium, Menacing Hedge, Full of Crow, Emprise Review, and about 70 other places. He has been pestering the public with his writings since the mid 70s.