Abecedarian for the Countdown

Apocalypse has been imminent for a while now. Oyez, oyez:               
zoonoses are here, jumping from virus to parasite to human. Ebola,  
bird flu, typhus, swine flu; now this pandemic. No certainty           
you and I will get through this period unscathed. Will it ebb,

combine with new pathogens or dormant ones awakening to join the mix?
Xylon-wielding surgeons are perplexed by the violet blooms, toxic  
discoloration on patients' limbs, followed by constricted airflow. 
Wagons filled with corpses in that other nightmare from 1918: the dead 

even then filling morgues, graveyards, ditches. Mortality the leitmotiv, 
vaccines not being administered until '45, though the elixir known as absinthe 
fed wormwood extract, green anise and fennel to 17th c. fever dreams. You
unbind the spirit, pour it over a sugar cube into a glass. Harder than a spliff—  
grief and gangrene the stones that drinkers want to drown. Poor, affluent,
their terror equal before the end and its unearthly phantoms. What drug 
halfway eases the wild decline of a world diseased, aflame, its wastes 
stopping the sink so nothing drains away, and nothing freshens? Each

instant ticks either louder than the last, or it grows softer.
Rituals we've learned: wrapping half our faces in layers, nuclei  

jimmied as far apart as possible, though not as far as from here to taqqiq.           
Quiet descends upon households. No fights or haircuts, as during Hajj.         

Kill it, make a killing, we used to say. Now the days are a too-long nap.
Perhaps the end we fear won't actually take place. No going berserk:

let the hours sit as they used to without being stretched thin, adagio 
overtures play without arriving at the coda. Write the word auroral        

many times in a notebook that has seen better days— you and I 
need consolations of repetition or error: things to revisit in a dream.           

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