the Salk Vaccine

Salk-Dr-Jonas

Suspended ruefully in its own shine

an object of vast proportion, it heaves

forth light in all spectrums

gamma, ultraviolet, radio

spinning off photons to travel

4 or 5 or 6 million million miles

across infinity

settling on satellites and gas giants

on our own blue-green world.

Its hydrogen fusing in a core unseen

the engine of everything.

Its light helped in no small way

to begat here life

flourishing  in the early seas

evolving through tortious

turquoise to create such perfect

machines as these – viruses.

They effect and infect

all living things and their offspring

including man.

From his thatched huts and altitude high

yurts to the glass canyons of NY and

wonderful LA suburbia, these little

critters everywhere, traveling from

hand to hand,

saliva dripped and shared

each lollipop a choice

carrier of contagion.

All of the children playing

with their lives, so many dying

or crippled by one sure bastard in

particular this polio

worse for the nation

than even Red Russian invasion-

So what could be done?

Joyous, Jonas Salk came

and using his reason, his knowledge, his

patience (and patients) over long years

filled with death; he succeeded in

killing a killer.

And under the sun around which

this planet turns

in sight of the Milky Way,

in a prick of silver injected as

bells ring and choirs sing

the children of the Americas

and Europe, and Africa, and Asia

celebrate a way to prevent the

terrible, the horrible, to stop

the mass concentration of Iron Lungs

and baby-sized braces

for weakly withered limbs.

This man Salk, full of happiness,

for sure, but shock at the applause-

he’s a private man after all.

The newsman ask about the money

he missed to make,

from what a Capitalist

must be seen as a true mistake:

“There is no patent,”

(and therefore no profit)

“Could you patent the sun?”

The question lingers long after

the conversation is done.

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