after Afaa Michael Weaver

It’s like a game of whack-a-mole,
the newspaper says. Public health
workers are pictured on page one.
In cloaks of blue plastic, moon
boots and monster goggles,
they look like ghosts.

over twelve hundred dead in Sierra Leone

They go from village to village
and house to house hunting down
the afflicted. They take them to
treatment centers where there is
no cure. No one will bury the bodies,
the newspaper says. The virus still
dances on top of the corpse, turning
grave diggers into new partners.

over three thousand dead in Sierra Leone

A Mr. Mohammed Kamara comes forward.
Someone has to do it, he says. He buries
over a thousand bodies. Ebola outbreak
officially over, the newspaper says today.
The orange plastic fencing that once cordoned
off a village loosens and waves in the breeze.

over four thousand dead in Sierra Leone

A native of Washington State, Jeanne-Marie Osterman is an emerging poet living in New York City. She’s taken poetry writing workshops at New York’s 92nd Street Y with Cornelius Eady and Grace Schulman, and at NYU with the late William Packard.