From the Italian for influences, meaning
gripped by an ethereal astrological fluid with
the power to control the course of contagious

As in 1918, when my father’s father and my
own young father, ill and under the influence
of the quintessence, the fifth element or

entered the hospital, where my grandfather
died but my father survived to become
a father to his young brother and sister,

to my sisters and me. His essence outlived
the influenza, which left him, a boy of four,
weak and alone but luckily very much