Survival of the Fittest – Howard Debs


The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the
instinct of sympathy.
…………………………………………………………………..—Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

She is just
starting out in life
she is fed by a
machine breathes
with the aid of
another machine
take away the
machines, she dies.
She is on a bus driving
in darkness to reach
Washington D.C.
she is one of many
on that trek,
mothers, caregivers,
children and others
whose lives or loved
ones’ lives hang in
the balance who live
because and only
because Medicaid
pays for their care.
The bus rolls on
in the dismal night,
it is a long and risky
flight for such fragile
souls as she. They
are on a mission, to plead
with those who hold
the future in their hands
to show the faces of
pending tragedy,
begging in favor of
reality vs. ideology.
She spikes a fever
on the way
there is trouble
with the feeding tube
her mother struggles
to provide some relief
as the hours pass
she barely improves,
exhausted they arrive
with the light of morning
at the place where
their appeal is intended.
They are barred from entry.
The office doors
are closed to them.
They are still hoping
to meet with their

 First published in Unlikely Stories Mark V.

Howard Richard Debs is a finalist and recipient of the 28th Annual 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear internationally in numerous publications, and his full length work Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words, (Scarlet Leaf Publishing) has recently been released. He is listed in the Directory of American Poets & Writers:

Author websites & social media:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *