bookmark_borderThe State of Disunion (or Feast and Famine)

A friend on Facebook posts:
I’m less concerned about the mortality rate,
and more concerned about what’s going to happen
in a month when all the people who died from this
come back to life.

He is young and does not know loss, does not know
the soft, jelly roll of grief that collects at the chest
and makes breathing a thing that requires
concentration, as if the fish tank of the world is
a paper bag and you are watching it collapse and fill
in tandem with your lungs. He does not know that
somewhere a mother is losing her father a good eight
years before he should have died, that a 32-year-old
nurse won’t make it to Tahiti in July for his wedding
on account of lungs so scarred he will need new ones.

My friend only knows memes and funny jokes, the ones
where Trump isn’t president but a character in
a one-person show on social media: harmless, goofy,
not the kind of dangerous who might send people back
to work to jumpstart the economy even if it means
hundreds of thousands die. I’m less concerned about
the mortality rate, and more concerned about the state
of morality, the rate at which every step or misstep
the country takes, there are actuaries trying to
determine how to create windfalls for his side,
his friends, his cronies in charge.

The worst things about such a disaster are unnatural:
the price of gas spiking at the pumps, a run on
toilet paper and bottled water, people taking more
pasta and soups than they can possibly use in a
month’s time—but that is the natural part,
the fallible human instinct to survive.

I’m talking about delaying the availability of tests
so as not to affect chances of re-election.
I’m talking about bailing out companies
that are worth billions and already have access to
cheap loans. I’m talking about creating slush funds
from which to anoint and instill America’s own
oligarchies—all while sending thin slivers of cake
home to families, a grand of your own money for what
ails you.

My friend doesn’t know it yet but the dead will stay
dead, the zombies he alludes to are already here,
they’ve been commuting to work for years for a shot
at what is looking less like a dream and more like
a lottery. They are standing in lines at grocery
stores to take home perhaps a few more things than
they actually need, but it makes them feel safe,
secure—plus there’s promise of a check making its
way from Washington, DC. You see, the man in the
White House really understands us, as long as
there’s crumbs spilling from the table, who are we
to deny him and his party their inevitable feast.