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Spanish Influenza – Part 2

good morning
spanish influenza says
entering healthy
young adult hearts
pump lungs full
fatal fluid that
evening or next

eighty million perish
worldwide most in
frenetic ninety days
twenty million in
october ‘eighteen india
about seven hundred
thousand in u.s.

bakersfield pummeled
more still in oilfields
where filthy makeshift
hospitals hold tough
young immigrants
prior to death

bakersfield schools
close three months
taft quarantines town
undertaker exhausted
after buries legion and
digs extra graves for
soon to be dead

Editorial note: Approximately one-fifth as many people died during World War I, which took place at the same time.

Source: Garth Millam lecture to the Kern County Historical Society on January 21, 2012

This entry was posted in Bakersfield, Influenza, Kern County, Oil, Poetry - GTC, World War I.