The Ballad of Personal Responsibility

Wash your hands, don’t touch your face,
Don’t cough or sneeze in another’s space;

Use soap and water for at least twenty seconds,
It’s clods like you that unleashed this, I reckon;

Not too close —  what the hell — you
Could be Al-Qaeda or a sleeper cell;

Stay at home, and don’t go out — it would
Seem that Russian agents like to pout;

Behold the sobbing nurses without masks,
We spent that money on bombs, a pleasant task;

Wipe down that grocery cart — do you really
Need so many carrots for your heart?

The milks have expired, stop complaining;
When you’re no more, on us will gold be raining;

The rent is due, and it mustn’t be late,
You have no income, but that’s your fate;

Dread marauder, sweet plague take flight,
As we cull surfeit souls in the harrowing night.

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.