I love and adore your word usage, the compassion and touching thoughts behind this piece, I may be way off in my interpretation but silence and just letting this person be.. with his thoughts just takes me to moments so often throughout my healthcare career.
firstly congratulations on the win - I must admit this poem of yours past me by and I am sorry for that.
The title made me think of 'The black death' but after reading it through, its more like a metaphor for oil/ greed, or perhaps a person operating on the fringes of accepted society?
The word 'poisoned' suggested to me pollution; maybe literal or maybe by society. Should this word be poisoning?
The feeling that I am left with is guilt ridden regret for doing nothing, just walking away. The fraction of a second where doing something, making contact was imagined is somehow more regretful and so more powerful.
Congratulations on your win! Such a powerful write, reminded me of someone who is very old, dying, mad at the world, not ready for all that's about to happen, lashes out at whoever gets close enough. Very intense! Well done-