Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not quitting my day job


A thirty-year-old man was brought to us
from the field hospital three days after
his platoon, on patrol, drove over
an improvised explosive device (Figure 1).
Samples were taken, and clinical doses
of drugs were delivered to his mouth and,
later, when dehydration set in, his veins.

Cultures were run in three separate laboratories
far from the field. Studies revealed
a new variety of sporulating fungus.
Death calls to life, and in the empty places
the authors found these flowers,
framed in slender dishes (Figure 2).

These were assayed and identified as
beauty that could not find a root
in metal and therefore yearned sunward
from the place he kept his wallet, the place
his savior bled, the place he waved goodbye.

Identification came too late for antifungal measures.
His family requested palliative treatment.
The isolate, a member of the order Mucorales,
was named for the field.

Figure 1. An IED.

Figure 2. Flowers are better than bullets.

Figure 3. A roadside in Kabul.

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