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Story Publication logo April 6, 2021

All the News That’s Fit to Print

Author:
Two doctors wearing protective gear, taken from the cover of If God Is a Virus by Seema Yasmin
English

Based on original reporting from West Africa and the United States, and the poet’s experiences as a...

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.

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