Learning From Jennie's Death

My grandpa's sister was a lively child,
but her life was cut short
at the age of seventeen,
Just when it was beginning.

No one wrote a story of her life.
The coroner's report
just says ‘blood poison, '
but that's not the full story.

Jennie had lost her mother
three years earlier.
She was the big sister,
and probably had lots of responsibilities
after her mother died.

One of my aunts (now all deceased)
told me how Jennie died:
A dance was coming up.
Like many teenagers,
Jennie had acne.
After popping a pimple,
she put on her makeup.
How could she have known that
it contained lead?

So many questions remain unanswered.
Did she know what was killing her?
How long did it take for her to die?
Did she suffer?

Now there is no one to ask.
Most of all I want to know
How many people must die before
manufacturers make their products safe?

by Spock the Vegan

Comments (4)

A very sad story. I would like the answers to your questions as well.
Very sad. Hopefully these days cosmetics are safer than they were back then. My heart aches for your grandpa's sister, and indeed for all young people who are taken so early in life. I remember a young girl who died in my little town at about the age of 11 or so. It seems like they said 'blood poisoning' on that death, too.
Very touching poem about your relative! Yes, many questions remain unanswered. Thanks for sharing this tribute. She will not be forgotten now.
Jennie's death brought me shock and sorrow. It is really a painful sight. You have inscribed this event heartfelty. Well narrative poem on death. Thanks for sharing.