Piles of dead bodies steam. Cremation reeks
like an all-day bar-b-que.We shift disease
from one mouth to another, one penis,
one vagina to another. We wait for plagues
to pass—Zika, insane cows, the bloody spume
of Ebola and long guns. Contagion will be
the end of us, or else we'll be ill all over
from the atmosphere, from the lead water.
Perhaps epidemics, pollution and violence
will slump, new drugs, new hope emerge.
But they seem out of reach in these first days
of the celebrity Republic when we are cajoled
to believe medicine or the administration
will lessen the lesions, the tension of being
a high risk population under the politics of dying.
Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the Arkansas Ozarks. She apologizes for her state's administration.