with some poisonous pen, the world as its petri dish
left out in the warm air. How the circles
intersect, grow irrevocably bigger. And bigger.
That cough you hear. That whisper. Pandemic.
Pan-dem-ic. That cold victorious number. That breath
you draw in. That proclamation. Listen. Listen!
That hand that touches the light switch
before yours. That finger that wipes a tear
from my eye, spit from his mouth, blood
from your nose. That plane that touches
down, its passengers too hot. And becoming hotter.
That porcine mixing pot - and then the human
one. Those birds pecking and shitting
in their battery pens. Like pigs
in their swill. Like men.
Not a meteor impact this time,
nor some volcanic burning. Not fighting,
but in our beds. No ominous rash,
no swelling. Not even a Geiger counter
tick. But a sneeze, spraying into the air.
Seeing to all of us.
(written after seeing this BBC news item)