Plague Mirror

by Jim Madigan


When the plague stepped off the plane
it held a mirror for all to see.
It showed the broken promise of
liberty and justice for all.

As plague danced across
the country, the mirror
made visible the crusted carbuncles
of a for profit healthcare system,

and illuminated the warehoused
elderly, kept in their rooms,
unable to receive visits from their children
while they grew sick and died.

The plague mirror brought the carceral
state out of the shadows, publicly
laid bare that we lock away people
of color, the uneducated, those mentally disabled.

Plague slipped through walls and cells
to touch Mumia in a Pennsylvania prison,
who lived, and Nickolas Lee in Cook County
Jail awaiting his parole violation hearing, who did not.

Unmistakably, the mirror unmasked
the rich get richer, the poor get
more numerous. Workers in service
and health essentially expendable.

While the duopoly of the oligarchy
debated and divided over what to do,
they were able to agree
on a malignant military budget, so:

No universal healthcare.
No free public education for all.
No homes for the homeless.
No end to the police state.

The plague laughed as the death
count climbed, and the rulers 
proclaimed through the media they own:
“Things are under control,
               the mirror is cracked.”



James Madigan is the father of three daughters, a librarian and is enrolled in the Masters program for Creative Writing – Poetry at University of Illinois Chicago. He has been published in Mantis, Oddball Magazine, Tiger Moth, and others. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois. Nancy Andrews is an artist living outside of Philadelphia. Self taught in photography, she has been perfecting her images for over 15 years. Her subjects include abstracts, images inspired by nature, and observations of the world around her. Along with photography, she spends her days teaching art to little ones, playing ukulele and romping with her two little pups.

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