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"Take him, damn you! What is one more?"
I hiss as I stand at the foot of the bed.
The Plague answers not, as if laughing before
It claims me as well as the patient I've bled.

He lies barely breathing. I find I must watch
In a moment stolen from others as ill--
Must breathe fetid air, must feel my pulse catch--
The Plague stares at me with implacable will.

I long to claim victory, or stalemate, at least.
The Plague waits with me; its patience is deep.
It is god of this flock, and I am the priest.
He breathes his last breath. I cannot even weep.

--(c) 2003 Chantal Whittington