Dark deaths matter more if they speak
English. If our nurses are sent to help and
return with trinkets, tans, and meningitis.
Editorial judgment dictates at least sixteen
Black people must die to equal one White
man’s death. Forty-three if the outbreak
is old news, does not involve profuse
hemorrhage, a former colony, or biblical
references. Subtract one dozen if our boys
are deployed to clean up their mess. Add
nine if babies are disintegrating in shallow
graves—but restrict to twelve inches
maximum. Even maple syrup tastes bitter
licked off fingers inked with destitution.
Buttercream pancakes stick in the throat
and it’s all happening so far, far away.
Follow the story with one reporter who
knows nothing of PPE, shrouds, and
ritual mourning. Send four photogs over
—use two underpaid local fixers if dead
-lines (for awards) are approaching.
Win a Pulitzer for photos of brown faces
eating expired medicines smeared in peanut
butter aid. Say, it is a gift from the American
people. Say, it was worth the ink.