Stanza 115


"I'm glad that you are here," the surgeon said.
"You would have been awakened, if instead,
Another officer had duty now.
It's cholera, and we can not allow
An epidemic in this area.
The origin of the bacteria
Could be the water source the town folk use.
Perhaps untreated sewage can diffuse
Into the cisterns and contaminate
The water, so we should not hesitate
To test the wells and we should verify
That villagers have not begun to die."
The S4 had already been apprised
About the illness which had compromised
The tenth battalion's viability.
Now general orders, posted liberally,
Required that each enlisted man report
The slightest symptoms rather than resort
To dealing with the problem on his own,
But so far Johnson suffered all alone.