by Rob McKinnon
to the flourishing city
hiding in groaning ships
from contaminated ports.
Finding prosperous homes
in the filth and effluent
of wooden wharves,
then boundless opportunity in grimy hovels and refuse of timber and corrugated iron shanty slums that proliferated near the waterfront.
The rats just the unwary carriers of the infecting fleas
who vigorously thrived in the wet and warm autumn,
finding horrid banquets
in the inhabitants of the squalid poverty. The bubonic plague
causing grim deaths and panicked fear for many months.