Off the Shelf
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Nuchal Stupidity

Young eyes awake to a febrile surprise
amid a quake of jittering limbs,
a clonic fit whose master cried
and shook the serenity of his crib.

A stiff sleep settles in his bulging eyes
and sutures pulse under rapid breath
aching with the fire of gross negligence
invading innocent space, the avid pest.

No hop and skip, but run and rush
through great double doors, an omen assured
to be cared for and watched, taken from trust
of parents who vaccination demurred.

A doll-eyed glance now masks a morbid calm
muscles too weak to raise defiant arms
lungs too worn to deride the wayward choice
of parents who robbed the infant of his voice.

The lumbar puncture showed the proof:
low glucose, high protein, white cells through the roof
a Gram stain of a quietly vicious rod
whose pink impression belied the terrible truth.

The failing kidney cannot dilute
the failure of this bitter movement
nor the brain so well compute
the horror of its misled nuisance.

The heart and lungs desist, decease,
and lose the reign on advanced disease
while dad and mom, their son far gone,
blame the performance of the medical degree.

For all the lives saved by the Nobel Prize
there is at least a soul now sacrificed
to mute the nonsense, foolery, and lies
of those refusing the vaccination
of children whom ignorance chose to die.

Steven Lange Steven Lange (13 Posts)

Medical Student Editor and in-Training Staff Member

Albany Medical College

Steven attends Albany Medical College as a student of the Class of 2017. Raised in Queens, New York, he earned a BA in English with a minor in Biology from Binghamton University in May 2013. Some of his interests include poetry, martial arts, traveling, and continental philosophy. He is currently aspiring to become a radiologist.