The Propaganda of Cells

Four of Five Pieces

A crescendo of panting to her stiff-lunged years

pressed in on her for three days and a bit before the succumbing

no word could be wedged between gasps.

A knife twist in her life’s two year tail two years’

witness to others’ ministerings at her flesh-raw chest

turned outward to the air

enforced fluency in the language of lint.

From nests of treason in her breast

at night the insurgency pushed out

into the bloodlines

outriders of a black host

the dreadful propaganda of cells

bridgeheads locked down in bone and brain

a Reichstag fire flowering in her back

herstory crumbling

midnight dominoes along her spine.

At the end

at the panting post

in the room curtained for death

her body spat and crackled with a foreign fever

even past the last breath and her eyes drying.

In the bare room a malignant hum.

When they came for her a thin smoke hung.

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Correspondence to Malcolm Parker.

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Parker, M. The Propaganda of Cells. Bioethical Inquiry 11, 171 (2014).

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  • Black Host
  • Spatial Body
  • Bare Room
  • Outriders
  • Succumbs