Penicillin was discovered in a moldy petri dish
in 1928 and by the forties was called a miracle drug
and by the fifties had become both widely available
and cheap, which is to say that penicillin arrived
in time for me, who without it would have died
a child on more than one occasion, but didn’t
and grew to see the things around me die instead.
My first cat was struck by a car on Daniels Lane,
I was five. My father’s mother died when I was six,
my mother’s three years later, then a godmother,
an uncle, a favorite aunt, and then the floodgates
opened as generations passed away in the way
of the world, my parents, my in-laws, eventually
my brother, and meanwhile the world around me
seemed to abide, but let’s not be fooled by that.