by Gary Hardaway

The plague will fold
the good and evil together
into earth and ash.

Its odors of quicklime
and pyre-smoke will curl
commingled in acrid air.

It will show
neither justice nor malice.
It will know no mercy.

It will expend itself
once too many bodies go cold
for it to sustain its pathological fire.

Our music will become
but variations on the same
exasperated acapella mourning song.