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poetry Health & Wealth

The coronavirus reveals evils of our economic systems, the poet suggests maybe it's time for confiscating some wealth.

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Health & Wealth

By Peter Neil Carroll

They join hands, our nearest neighbors,

one wears white, gossamer gown and mask,

alluring nitrile gloves to match the new sky,

but worries what slips when the dance begins.

The other shrouds with invisible safety nets

designed to shelter, bare essentials, or less

if the fabric tears or the shoe strap breaks,

if a heel fails, if they run out of money.

Because a micron of a microbe lurks outside,

I stay by the window, study improbable weather,

unseasonable, unpredictable this novel montage—

wind, fire, storm, speeding the bad news home.

Which death is better, it comes to that:

a body’s inability to breathe or long-term

pollution of breathless air, two sides of a coin,

one if you have none: choke or smoke, pick.

They find shutting down business cleans air

faster than trading winds of carbon credits.

Working at home cuts need for office space,

vacancies at bargain rates. Homeless no more.

Goodbye downtown: restaurants, bars, retail.

Real estate assets fall, commuters save on gas.

Big money loses, but stretch, think of ethics:

How much wealth died when slavery ended?

Peter Neil Carroll's sixth collection of poetry, Something is Bound to Break (Main Street Rag), was published in 2019. Earlier titles include, An Elegy for Lovers; The Truth Lies on Earth; and A Child Turns Back to Wave which won the Prize Americana.