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Epidemic




Epidemic
 
 
 
I know little about who I'm from.
            My old man, he was born
   an hour or so south of Memphis.
 
His mother died six days later
            from the Puerperal Fever.
   I've been told she was half-Choctaw
 
and from what I've read
            was “taken with pains
   in the head, soon followed by great
 
anxiety, sleeplessness, and a general
            disinclination toward suckling.”
   His old man was a barber who met
 
a new woman and moved
            them far west of the river.
   When the war came he signed up
 
and shipped off to Europe. Somewhere
            along the way he lost a leg.
   Maybe a German shot him in France.





John Riley


John Riley works in educational publishing. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Connotation Press, Smokelong Quarterly, Blue Five Notebook, Willows Wept Review, The Dead Mule, and many other journals both online and in print.

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