Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

NEW YORK - JUNE 6: Larry Kramer at Village Voice AIDS conference on June 6, 1987 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)

Larry Kramer at Twilight

in Coronavirus/Obituaries by

The prophet doesn’t stride forth
like an oracle, but rather
flickers in the dimming pages
of his rage. But his face still embers
when the light of all our too-late afternoons
limns the bristle scarcely softening
his jaw. The prophet always speaks
in threes: three plagues, three times
he was denied—by Reagan, straight white
America, and now this slow drip
of history that’s made his memory into
a quilt of missing friends—surreal
he says. The prophet’s isolation deepens
into a violet evening sky, husband
and caregivers leaving him to contend
with one virus at a time: his oldest
nemesis, the one that conjured this
lifelong testament to pestilence—show
me a plague and I’ll show you the world.
As the world he’s made constricts, he reaches
out to allies fashioned out of foes—we
are friends again. Dr. Fauci writes back:
hunker down. The prophet always
hunkers down at first. Requires dragging
from their cave. Is a torch lit from an ever
older flame. I wish it could be me
the tired prophet says. I wish it could be me.

________

Ed Granger‘s chapbook, Voices from the First Gilded Age, was published in 2019 by Finishing Line Press. His poems have also appeared or are forthcoming in THINK Journal, Rappahannock Review, Loch Raven Review, Delmarva Review, River Heron Review, and other journals.

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