Triage

 

Veins harden.

Arteries clog.

Concretions become varicose,

webbed across the skin,

like a long abandoned

spider’s cemetery.

Cold at its heart,

avenues that once

pumped life,

now narrow,

as the detritus

of a convalescent life

comes to pile up

along the edges.

 

The heart strains to beat.

No longer does the downtown core

pulse with life,

day and night.

The cells have all moved outwards

into the bulging fatty deposits

of the suburbs.

Urban waistline sprawl

stretching the transit lines

of blood and oxygen,

choking off

a once vibrant being.

 

The voice

that once pitched high

in song,

that fed a culture,

and gave style

to a bland nation,

now becomes a chorus

of ambulance sirens,

fire trucks,

and police cruisers

day and night.

A lamentation

spreading out to every limb.

A funeral dirge.

A death rattle.

 

Last breaths

and the air goes still.

Long since blackened lungs

no longer giving life.

The mind is gone.

A particularly vicious senility

that robs the present

of its past.

No amount of surgery,

or gentrification

that cure

what time and neglect

have done.

 

The caretakers,

long ago betrayed

the inhabitants of this body.

A faded, grey corpse

now sits on the river.

Forgotten memories

spilling out of sewage pipes

to be sluiced down

into the ocean.

All around,

fingers point

and blame is assigned,

but no one speaks a word

to the others,

whom already show

hardened skin,

and jaundiced eyes.

Even they too,

deny their sickness.

 

Bad cells multiply

and the corruption spreads.

Even high doses of radiation

might not cure the rot.

Who knows?

The days

of clear minds

and unobstructed veins

seem so long ago.

These bodies

of concrete and glass

will all return

to the Earth,

one day,

sooner or later.

 

 

HG – 2022

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