Bio Note: Charlene is my alter ego. She has a lot to say, and I let her. I live and write in Connecticut, where I also teach and am poet laureate of my town.
BUILDING A POLIO VIRUS
“…using chemicals obtained by mail order and the publicly available knowledge of the virus's code…researchers at the State University of New York built a synthetic version of the polio virus so like the real thing that it infected mice and made them ill.” “US Scientists Create Polio Virus with Mail Order Chemicals,” The Guardian James Meek, 12 July 2002
Charlene thinks that if building a polio virus from scratch
is that easy, the world’s in a lot more trouble than she’d anticipated;
she’d always counted on being dead—or mostly—
before the apocalypse hit.
But that was back when the apocalypse was created by God,
likely to end on somewhere-in-the-middle-east plains,
one set of dusty chariots flying toward another
across a level playing field.
God wouldn’t bother with the secrecy
of government-funded underground bunkers,
scientists working in overlit labs in white coats
and breathing apparatus.
Who needs controlled chambers
when the point is to wipe out humanity?
Charlene doesn’t want to think about it.
At night, she lies awake, imagining patterns of stars.
© 2018 Laurel Peterson
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