“Pandemic, Profits”

Poetry--even in the flu! Here's to universal
health care and a system that doesn't make
money from our being sick.

A third week sick with flu, coughing fits, green
sputum, amoxicillin, the specialized vocabulary,
of illness, the ailing body of words still ready
for poetry, and to go to work. The dandelions,
slope-shouldered lean their burnished heads
toward the early sun. Nature never did betray
the heart that loved her. A few feet further on
the flowers are white-haired, gone to seed, one
breath will finish them. Last year our human
breath spread pandemic around the world, when
pigs gave us their virus, some called them swine,
we gloved and masked, thin armor against Nature
as she tested us in her favorite game, Evolve or
die, a 3-D global living color beta run-through,
while the last tree I passed before my office door
ramified toward the sky, lifting up green obelisks
out of what, a month before, were nubs of buds
I didn’t even notice as I walked by, while frisky
pharmaceutical prices rose, motel hotel airline
profits fell, right-wing pundits blamed people
from other countries, and CNN never opined
on links between hog factory-farms in Veracruz
and North Carolina, lagoons of manure, vast
wastes of rotting pig parts, fumes, flies, birds,
the “free flow” of capital across borders, NAFTA,
anti-immigrant anti-union laws, the fecal pigsty
draining into the aquifer, fever, throats and bodies
sore everywhere, the coughing workers, neighbors,
the first death doubtless not the first: "Fighting
this disease for months…the pig waste for years,"
Erasto Bautista of La Gloria. Building up resistance.

For more info on those links, see:
Hillel Cohen, “Swine Flu, Pigs and Profits”

Bautista quote from:
Fintan Dunne, “Cover-Up: Mexican Government Lying About Swine Flu,” 29 April 2009

“Nature never did betray…” is from William Wordsworth’s
“Lines Composed….Above Tintern Abbey.”

Minnie Bruce Pratt

Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivs
Creative Commons 2010

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