There was a kick into your ribs
and the crack of those bones
was an echo from memory,
breaking open rib cages
performing autopsies for
knowledge gained-you recall as
you spit up your vivid red blood
the learned and the wise
who challenged your discovery
and denied reality.
Your sickness is default
stress from every ‘trusted’
practitioner, honest to a fault,
who felt you were a liar
and refused your advice. The
mothers though are the ones
to suffer, they die in droves.
With fevered heat and aches and
cries of pain; prostitutes
and poor who would have rather
given birth in the horse shit
and flies covering the streets
of Vienna, then to die in the
safety of the clinic.
On their knees begging to avoid
the Doctors covered in the stench
of cadavers, to see a midwife instead
where they might have a chance to live.
Why are you so rational, so willing
to find out the cause of death? Everyone
knows that bad air and bodily humors
are the cause of disease…not invisible
particles under our disgusting finger nails.
We’re gentlemen through and through, not
gutter trash like these girls here.
But you know, deep inside from the work
you have done, that bleach and water
can stop the spread of death to these
poor beings. You can show in detailed
charts that the deaths have dropped
to almost nothing! Clean hands and tools
prevent the danger…it’s so simple a fool
could make the connection. Except for
all of the fools of Europe, the smart
gentleman who know all.
They don’t believe what they can plainly see.
You do what you can, you call them out
as murderers and charlatans in open
letters and pamphlets and public talks.
You just want to stop the death.
But they lock you up as a mental patient
and beat you so bad
that you die two weeks later.
In the moments before you cease to be,
you feel, momentarily, a sense of worth.
But it passes and what remains is senselessness.
You don’t want monuments
you don’t want honors
you don’t want fame
you want those girls to live.