LITANY IN A TIME of PLAGUE

I.
Let the passenger from Liberia
& the thermometer of the TSA agent
Let the seatmates of the Dallas nurse who flew to Cleveland
to plan her wedding
Let the bleach spray & the incinerator
Let the boots & the hazmat suits, the protocols
& the three pairs of latex gloves
Let the dog of the sick nurse in Madrid
Let the three-week quarantine with the bored children,
the crying toddler & the busted refrigerator
Let the child & her mother lying dead two days in a Freetown street
& the angry, weeping mob
Let the infected materials nobody knows how to dispose of
The CDC has announced a new
The World Health Organization has acknowledged
The President has appointed

II.
May the codfish deep in the Newfoundland Banks
likewise the honey-bees & the Monarch butterflies
May the Clouded Leopard & the Iberian Lynx
May the poachers, the buyers of ivory & horn
the African Elephant & the White Rhino
May the loggers in the rainforest
likewise the builders of oil rigs in the North Sea
May the melting ice-floes & the Inuit hunters
likewise the walrus, the seal, the Polar bear
May the Marathon runners in Beijing wearing
face-masks against the smog
May the radioactive waters from Fukushima
the fish & the plankton, the reef & the seabed
May the oil spill & the polluted ground-water
the rivers filling with sludge, the dying coral
May the dolphins choking on plastic

III.
Let the typhoon, the exploding volcano, the hurricane,
the tidal wave, the drought & the mudslide
Let the farmer at Srinagar carrying his children
through waist-high waters over his drowned field
Let the trekkers in Nepal caught in a monsoon-driven blizzard
Let the Somali refugees who have not seen rain in two years
Let the Sahara moving relentlessly southward
into another village in Mali
Let Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, The International Rescue Committee,
Catholic Relief, UNESCO, & Save the Children, USAID & all the NGO’s

IV.
A committee has been formed to investigate what
Pending further information you are advised to
The hospital has not released the names of
The Prime Minister has declared
A special unit has been dispatched
The public is meanwhile warned not to
An announcement will be forthcoming &