Ebola: A Love Story



Tamara Miller

We are at the point in the story where you stand in the doorway
The keyhole burning the San Andreas Fault into your palm;
Your other hand, poised in a backhand cliché, clutches a crystalized
Piece of the Universe: all that is keeping this relationship from
Breaking into a billion tiny particles, like dust motes floating
Across your retina. Did you know that one single particle of Ebola Virus,
Just six amino acids long, will kill you? It floats down the muddy rivers
And backchannels that lead to your heart, to your liver, to your spleen
Until it collides with a cell, any cell it doesn’t even matter, and sticks.
This cell doesn’t know who Ebola is, doesn’t know that this tiny
Particle will break its heart. So it says, “Oh Hey, little lost piece of
Protein, want to come in?” And the cell thinks that all the other cells
Are going to be so jealous. That it has become a doctor and bought a house.
It thinks that its mother will finally be proud and even though it
Isn’t that kind of girl, it imagines what kind of wedding dress
Would look best against the brown of your skin. Stupid little cell.
Before long the cell is a sex slave, a queen bee, churning out hundreds
Of thousands of copies of that particle, and those particles get into
All the other stupid little cells. And then the first cell—that round-bodied
Oversensitive piece-of-shit loving cell with her hand raised, with a
Hundred million pieces of virus about to be thrown like a betrayal
At his raw-throated silence—dies. But before that, right now,
You want him to save you; the ring in your hand and your stare
Begging him to change the DNA which is pouring out of you
So fast you can’t even smell the stink of your own blood.