Monday, August 15, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Mortality

We are contagious.
We will sneeze on you,

spit on you, breathe on you.
Shake hands with you, exchange

fluids with you, be where you will be,
touch what you will touch.

We will give you scabies, warts,
chicken pox, measles, hookworms,

hepatitis, meningitis, mononucleosis,
influenza, ebola, gonorrhea.

We come with pathogens, cankers,
seizures, parasites, germs, fungi,

infections, plagues, microbes,
epidemics & pandemics.

You wear latex gloves against us,
mask your faces from us, antibacterialize us,

quarantine us, burn us.
Yet still we weep, we deposit, we exhale.

We push buttons, hold railings, suck
our thumbs, wipe our eyes, pick our teeth.

We lie down upon, we touch,
We are intimate. We love.

You will contract, come down with,
sicken, show symptoms of, begin to itch,

to seep, to bleed. Be afflicted with,
fall victim to, develop, succumb to.

We are the last gasp, the final touch,
the ticking second.

We are you.

© T.Clear 2011


More Tuesday poems can be found here.


  1. We're a germy bunch aren't we?

  2. I really like this. I just saw a movie trailer last night for a blockbuster by Soderbergh called "Contagion." It scared the bejeezus out of me.

    I'd rather read your poem.

  3. Wonderfully done, T. It reads like a march, and it is the ticking away of our lives that we hear--the maggots are at the door. It's only a matter of time. Ghastly, but inevitably true. I was just flossing my teeth, wondering why, when the buglets will be gnawing on my gums any minute now--your poem really struck home.

  4. That is an effing awesome poem T., one of my very favorites of yours. Probably my favorite!!!

  5. Love Melissa's comments - yes yes yes.

    I see an army of ailments marching my way and there is NO stopping them. It's only a matter of time.

    Ick...imagine working in a hospital and seeing this stuff every work day. Oh my.

  6. Did you see this essay from yesterday's NY Times?

    Pathogens May Change, but the Fear Is the Same"

    Love, C.

  7. Love it. Are you sure you're not a nurse?:)

  8. Great sounds and energy here - great fun - and yes, a march! I wonder if you need that last line though. 'the ticking second' is such a great line... X