On the Precipice of Illness

by Kevin Chang
Art by Annie Yang
Issue: Audeamus (Winter 2011)

One ember lands on speckled ground
a blight for none to see
a fall fr.om grace

a Cough sounds thr.oug.h the spe.ckled grounds
a Cough sounds like fa.ult
a Cough los.t its d.oubted grac .e
a Cou.gh for none to see

Harm is pa.lpable, ar.idity is in the air
It is c.alled-
The.re is misfortune he.re

It runs thick with flaming discord

It is pre.valent
A lon.g-li.ved
resident. on these grounds

But there is a cure in the house
Stamp out the embers
cease the embers; cease the Coughing

There is a cure in the house
Punctuate the embers
Punctuate the Coughs till infrequency rings
…till silence sounds

Alas, silence, too
is for no one to see
And while you do
Punctuate these words for me
in the meantime,
I have the need of a cough’s drop.

A simple, black-and-white image depicts a person's head that appears to be in pain, with bubbles coming out of their upturned mouth and their hair melting away.