Here’s another poem prompted by the news. I read about the beginnings of a previous outbreak, and how it was traced back to a pregnant woman, who had butchered a monkey.
I butchered the monkey
Brought, a loving gift, from my man.
Stripped the wiry fur from it’s back
Jointed the meat
Grateful for the food it meant
Glad to be feeding my child to be
Or maybe I cursed it. A sod
To gut, monkeys.
Wondering why my husband had
Brought this old carcass home
It matters not.
I am dead 6 months or more now.
The carcass carried the plague &
My body writhes uncontrollably
My body held nothing within it
Water, food, blood. All released
Themselves. My body
My child, cut from my withered frame
Buried apart, the tradition here.
Some gift. The poisoned beast
And those that kindly honoured
My dead babe
My dead body
Died too, as terribly as I.
What fate is this to have started
Such hideousness in my village
What part has my soul in this?
What penance paid?