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Infinity Pustule

"Why is everyone down with the flu, mamma? Oh, but that's what it means to be alive, my love."

Published onMay 21, 2023
Infinity Pustule

Photo by the National Cancer Institute:

There’s something about the runny nose,
the nasal drip that never goes

The febrile tremor, that ancient chill,
fevers that die, fevers that kill

The buba that grew on many a groin,
and spread the pox from loin to loin

The rash has always been a friend,
kissing our skin centuries on end

Bugs went on ships, on decks so damp,
giving sailors diarrhea cramps

Moist and sick sat the soldiers’ tents
mosquitoes hummed and chased their scent

Lungs, livers, guts – such cozy nests,
for yeast, coli, fungi, and pests

Pains and aches, through time and space
they love us all, no matter our race

It crippled armies; it inspired art
the plague’s been with us from the start

The species barrier is but a sieve,
was, is, will be the reason we grieve

The wrath of God is eons old,
before the biblical locust was sold

The asteroid struck, we’re here by chance,
with micro monsters we must dance

You and me, rats and fleas,
in the discotheque of disease.

Ashwini Gangal is a media journalist from Mumbai, India, who now lives in California. On most days she's a bumbling migrant desperately looking for her literary voice, her sanity and her own brand of genius. She recently quit her full-time job as managing editor of a business daily to pursue her passion—words, rhymes, stories, poetry, make believe. She’s also passionate about mental health, gender-power dynamics and all animals except humans. She’s an insatiable reader. Empathy is her super-power. “Infinity Pustule” was previously published by Penumbra May 11, 2023.


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