Black Death Consultants

We ignite fires
that’ll burn for
generations, like
underground caves
of coal mines

We cleanse the land,
sweep parasites
from wheat fields
and rats from
beneath mountains

We walk this freeze-dried zone
with eyes glued shut
and sewn mouths laced
crunch through streets
littered with cadavers

We do not ask why
towns fell to such viruses
grown in fine-bone china
modified to destroy immune
structures with expediency

We promised to be kind
to save what we could
to plant the stones of hope
to fill the holes with symbols
of survival, but not of love

We zip aluminized suits & spark
plasma torches. We head out with
visors down—O2 streams in &
vents exhaust. Maybe we’ll turn
this ash into soil, then sow & reap

We were the compromise,
an addendum, an answer
and we search for the symptoms,
the root & the cause, or solutions
to make this system run again

*

Jennifer J. Pruiett-Selby is a teacher and mother of four, with a Master’s degree in English from Iowa State University. Jennifer currently lives in very rural Iowa where her column {just a word} appears in the local newspaper. Her work has been published in RED RIVER REVIEW and FOUR & TWENTY.

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