"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Forty-Second Week

Every winter
sickness finds me
though I get the flu shot
take vitamin C supplements
and always wear many layers
every single winter
sickness finds me
this I try to remind myself
as my head aches
and as my chest grows sore
from my unceasing coughing.


That it was undeniably
a plague year
must not lead you to believe
that the plague is ending
simply because
the year is almost over.


“If you
look at the slope
the incline of cases
that we have experienced
as we have gone
into the late fall and
soon-to-be-early winter,
it is really quite troubling,
we are really
at a very critical point.”

The doctor hopes
that this time
his warning will
be heeded.


Had you wanted
than six hundred dollars
you should have been
a fighter plane.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between December 26, 2020 and January 1, 2021.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems.

Throughout the duration of this crisis new poems will be posted regularly at that Twitter account, they will then be collected and reposted here in weekly increments.


Not even a year was required
to develop a vaccine
to develop multiple vaccines
how impressive
are our civilization’s capabilities
when the need arises!

Tell me then why it is
that we cannot
feed the hungry?


It is not that they truly believe
that you deserve
two thousand dollars
but that they understand
it is in their own interest
for them to occasionally
pretend to truly believe
that you deserve
two thousand dollars.


Across from me
on the other side
of the laundromat
sits an old man
every few minutes
he coughs heavily
into a disintegrating tissue
I know I should leave
but my clothes
have not yet reached
the spin cycle.


Before the catastrophe
can occurr
a people must first come to see
the collapsing walls
the vacant pantries
the burdened shoulders
the everyday disasters
as the unremarkable features
of an acceptable life.


The year
will end
the plague
will endure.


It is said that
the plague attacks
the lungs
the heart
the kidneys
the brain
and to this list
we sadly must add that
the plague attacks
the imagination
at least this would explain
why so many are unable
to imagine
the sufferings of others.


Do not bother with penance
what century do think this is?
Drag your weary body
through the streets
whip your back raw
cry out for divine assistance
but expect no help from on high
the plague is not the wrath of god
but the folly of men
who think the are gods.


When the plague came
we were willing
to sacrifice
our social lives
our sources of income
our daily comforts
our way of life
knowing that doing so
was necessary
to prevent a catastrophe.

And when the plague came
our leaders were willing
to sacrifice us.


Lower your voice
when celebrating
the we
who survived this year
the we
who are mourning
those who did not
survive this year
will hear you.


Waste not your anger
on the year,
that you will spend tonight
at home
is not the fault of the planet
blame not the heavens
for the conduct of earthlings.

The year will end tonight
the reasons why
you will spend this night
at home
will still be here tomorrow.


Those who wonder
whether or not
we shall learn
from the year of wreckage
we have escaped
already know
the answer to their question.


We long for an ending
a distinct conclusion
something capable of demarcating
what was and what will be.

We long for an ending
one that clearly signifies
that the crisis is finally over.

But our catastrophe
is not a singular event
it is that the bad things
simply continue.


it is a new year
it is also only
yesterday’s tomorrow.


Learn from disappointment
do not bother making plans
or investing hopes
in twenty twenty-one
you will still be
(we will still be)
right where you are
(right where we are)
six months hence
if you must make plans
and place hopes somewhere
look to twenty twenty-two.


It is said
that every new year
is defined by the attempt
to overcome
the previous year’s tragedies
that is said
of every new year
yet it is surely truer
of some years
than others.


It is too soon
far too soon
to feel such fury
such exhaustion
to be wracked
by so much despair
the year is still so young
yet here
we are
yet here
we already are.



Plague Poems…the next week

Plague Poems…the previous week

Plague Poems…the first week

Plague Poems…the full list

About Z.M.L

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer @libshipwreck

2 comments on “Plague Poems – The Forty-Second Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Forty-First Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  2. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Forty-Third Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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