George Staley

News reports:

—H1N1 flu vaccine in short supply
—CDC reports 17 large school districts have closed
—17 children dead, 13 who were otherwise healthy

Hours after having seen her dr. for flu-like symptoms,
the 13 yr. old collapses walking to the bathroom,
          begs her parents to take her to the hospital.

On the edges of the ER commotion,
a dr. loudly tells the parents, “It’s serious—”
“How serious?” asks the father.
“—and as a precaution, we need to get her on life support . . . .”

The head nurse takes the girl’s hand,
          “Honey, maybe you want to hug your mommy.”

In this moment, all becomes quiet.