“Daraprim” by Kayla Rae Candrilli

Kayla Rae Candrilli


for Martin Shkreli

When the pneumonia rocked your body in waves
I rocked with you, seasick and nauseous. I vomited

bile into your bed-pan and the nurse ushered me out,
called your immune system depressed. You said over

Who Wants to be a Millionaire reruns, let’s count my virus,
& you warned, ticking off on your fingers, we’ll be counting

forever. Meredith Vieira had no answers. Nurses
had pills, IVs. And you lived. But it was contractual.

Wheelbarrows of antivirals that you hid
from your roommates, bottles tucked under

the kitchen sink and behind Clorox and cleaning supplies—
where they’d never find them. When you were drunk

you’d threaten to uncap that Clorox. There is no
metaphor for this. Instead, I’d tuck you into bed.

I’d pet the pills down your throat. I’d kiss your lips
and whisper missions into the hollow of your body.

Now, after years, we count your virus on one hand.
There is no hollow to your body.

You say I can’t even eat anymore.
You say I’m filled to brim with gold.

Poets Respond
September 26, 2015

[download audio]


Kayla Rae Candrilli: “Martin Shkreli, owner of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of Daraprim, an anti-parasitic HIV drug, from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill.” (website)

Note: This poem has been published exclusively online as part of a project in which poets respond to current events. A poem written within the last week about an event that occurred within the last week will appear every Sunday at Rattle.com. Our only criterion for selection is the quality of the poem, not its editorial position; any opinions expressed are solely those of the poet and do not necessarily reflect those of Rattle’s editors. To read poems from past weeks, visit the Poets Respond page. Interact on our Facebook group. To have a poem considered for next week’s posting, submit it here before midnight Friday PST.