"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Sixty-Second Week

So long as the plague
was over there
we told ourselves
it would never bother us
over here.

And when the plague
was over here
we told ourselves
it would not bother us
for long.

So now that the plague
is back over there
we tell ourselves
there is nothing more
to worry about.


Have some humility
as the sun scratches your nose
for this is not the first time
we have declared victory
over the plague.


When trekking across
a frozen sea
there is no shame
in stepping cautiously
while still on the ice.


My fellow shopper
I promise that I heard you
(shouting at such a voluem
how could I not hear you?)
please do not assume
that I have not heard
the latest guidelines
but the louder you demand
that I remove my mask
the more certain I am
that you are dangerous.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between May 15, 2021 and May 21, 2021.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems and Instagram at @plague_poems.

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.


The claim that the plague
has reached its end
will come as a surprise
to those whose loved ones
were taken by the plague
only yesterday.


it was over
really and truly finished
there would be no need
to debate whether or not
it was over.


It is not the case
that you have forgotten
how to behave
out in the world
but that those old ways
which you struggle to recall
were for the old world
not this one.


If you insist
on entertaining hopes
you might as well
be ambitious in your desires
do not bother fantasizing
about a return
to how things were before
you might as well
be ambitious in your desires
hope that things
will be better than they were before.


My friends
are going out for drinks
my parents
are planning a new trip
my acquaintances
are taking off their masks
my anxieties
are staging a sit in.


I confess that I failed
to mark the date
when the plague claimed
my five hundred and eighty
thousandth neighbor
I shall make sure
to be more attentive
when the plague claims
my five hundred and ninety
thousandth neighbor
at some point next week.


Though their spelling
is undeniably similar
it is unwise to believe that
vaccination and vacation
are synonyms.


So long as we still
wore masks
we could feel the plague’s presence
flattening our noses
covering our mouths
tugging at our ears
hiding our smiles
belaboring our breath
without such forceful reminders
how easy it is
to forget that the plague remains.


Though I try
not to focus on it
whenever I look at a new picture
of some crowded indoor gathering
I cannot stop myself
from wondering
how many of these people
have been fully vaccinated.


After so many months
spent barricaded inside
with horrors scratching the door
I acknowledge that this
might sound strange
might be unwelcome
but I still believe
that the problem is not
too much fear
but not enough of it.


How can you expect
to learn
when you will not even stop
to mourn?


Try not to feel guilty
if you find yourself
still distracted
still distraught
as you continue to fret
over the plague
for it has not yet ended
and besides
you already feel bad enough.


Only a fool
steps out of the life boat
when the shore remains
miles away.


The tired worker
stationed at the shop’s door
may not be able to tell
if you are being honest
when you claim
that you have been vaccinated
they will have no choice
but to take you at your word.

The plague, however,
will know the truth.


It is not that some folk are
obsessed with or
addicted to or
distracted by the plague
but that someone must continue
bearing witness.

Even now.


It has been so long
my friends
since last we saw
each other’s faces
and though I did not think
that I had truly forgotten
what we all looked like
I confess that I did not remember
all of us looking so old.



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 Sixty-Second Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – the Sixty-First Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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

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This entry was posted on May 25, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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