By Cameron Conaway
Third of malaria drugs ‘are fake’ 2
Their five faces fade black
in turns inside the shadow
trail cast by the steady sway
of the single yellow bulb
in the cobwebbed basement.
Two cut the powder and two
clean tubes and one with gun –
to profit with pills on people
is as natural as moon song.
Borrow bright, borrow blues.
My eye fills the floorboard hole
and I look down on them
making a living by taking
the living left in the dying
and knowing it or knowing not.
There the whirling fan blades
measure the bulb’s pulse,
count silhouettes not seconds,
swing night like clock tongue
on artemisinin white sand beaches.
There the young men, boys really,
hired for their inability
to break or take or seize
rights or all over the floors.
Blinking days split like grieving.
Boys, stencil-stashed kids really,
who know not their father or Artemis’s
or bow’s curve, but the butterfly
and hourglass of arrow’s entry wound.
Not yet how time tweaks string.
There the kids, slaves really,
who know not the story beneath
their fingernails or the speed
in their bloodstream: Amphetamine
in Chinese means Isn’t this his
fate? Take them to make them.
There the hate I held as hair
bled through the floorboard hole,
to and fro like a floating feather
of then and then getting caught,
lost in the dust of the cobwebs.
About the Author
Cameron Conaway is the Social Justice Editor at The Good Men Project. He was the 2011-2012 Poet-in-Residence at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand and the 2007-2009 Poet-in-Residence at the University of Arizona’s MFA Creative Writing Program. His work has appeared or been reviewed in ESPN, The Huffington Post, Rattle, Teach Magazine, Möbius The Australian, Cosmopolitan and the Ottawa Arts Review, among others. His first book of poems, “Until You Make the Shore,” was released in Winter 2013 from Salmon Poetry. For more information visit CameronConaway.com.
2. BBC. Title. Michelle Roberts. 05/22/2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18147085