Health system blues

How come I get to have a million-dollar brain

when others lack a ticket just to get on the train?

Only five years ago I’d be living in pain

untreated, uninsured, left out in the rain

like so many laid flat by the spread of corona,

hanging onto each breath, at the edge of a coma,

their loved ones barred entrance to stand by their bed,

to pray and hold hands to ward off the dread.

The nurses and doctors are worked to the bone,

their grief and exhaustion combine as a moan,

a background cacophony of unexpressed tears

as they shore up the edifice and push down their fears

Healthcare for all should not just pertain

to class or to age or to status of claim.

All of us should have it and none should remain

outside of a system that goes against the grain.

But our lack of compassion spreads a bloodstain

on the soul of this country, and on those who would deign

to treat the rich first and for others refrain

from providing the basics — how dare we complain?

All of us are heading into new terrain.

What happens in the future need not be insane.

Our choices could envision a new weathervane

where none of us loses, and all of us can gain

and anyone could get to have a million-dollar brain.

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