"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Sixty-Fourth Week

We devote
single days
to remembering
so that we can devote
most days
to forgetting.


Perhaps in some future year
we shall commemorate
the plague’s victims
with a weekend sale
on tires and clothes.


I confess
I did not truly miss
seeing the lower half
of strangers’ faces.


Should you find yourself
gathered with friends
around a backyard grill
and one of them exclaims
that they are happy
now that the plague has ended
it is best not to reply
that the plague has not ended
instead simply raise your bottle
to your lips so that you can hide
your grimace.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between May 29, 2021 and June 4, 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.


Now that you are less worried
about the plague
you have ample time
to anxiously worry
about the other problems
that plague your society.


It is lucky for us
that it is easy to engage
in small talk
to chat about the weather
or television or food
is not a skill one forgets
if it were not so simple
to opine on the cloudless sky
we might be forced to talk
about these months
we have spent inside.


It took too long
but after many years
I returned to the optometrist
my prescription was out of date
my lenses were badly scratched
it could no longer be delayed
equipped with new frames
the horrible sights remain
in front of my eyes
but now I can see them
even more clearly.


I spent years
carefully honing the technique
of telling my friends
that I would be unable
to meet them at the bear
it is with mixed feelings
that I recognize
it is a skill I have not lost
during the pandemic.


I will not deny it
I am tired of writing
I am tired of thinking
about the plague
but the more I feel
to move on to other things
the more I feel that
I must continue writing
I must continue thinking
about the plague.


Despair is a meal
that leaves your stomach
than it was before.


There are some
who have already forgotten.

There are some
who strive not to forget.

And there are some
who have no choice
but to remember.


You need not
grade so harshly
it is not quite fair
to say that
the plague is a test
that we have failed
it is sufficient to say
that we have scraped by
with a D
in many places that still counts
as a passing grade.


No catastrophe
will convince the hard-hearted
to care for those
who are not like them
what surprises is the speed
with which the empathetic
cease caring for others
once they are convinced
that the catastrophe has ended.


We keep saying
“a year ago”
though it has been more
than twelve months
since the date
to which we are referring.


We have reduced our speed
ever so slightly
but we have not yet changed


It was easier
to wear a cloth mask
than it is to keep
putting on this new mask
featuring a calm smile.


According to one network
here, in this exceptional land
the plague has now claimed
six hundred thousand lives.

According to studies
that were released and forgotten
the plague claimed that many
months ago.

And yet here,
in this exceptional land
it is just another Friday.


Not every catastrophe
leaves behind
a trail of clear destruction
toppled buildings
burnt cars
flooded cellars
trash strewn streets
some catastrophic events
leave their ruins
in the weary eyes
of those who survived.


The odds are against you
chances are that you will not
win your state’s vaccine lottery
but do not grumble
as you hear the names of winners
(who are not you)
that you are still here
when so many of your neighbors
are gone
should be enough
for you to consider yourself lucky.

Were we
here, in this exceptional land
to remain silent
for a single second
(barely even a moment)
for each one of our neighbors
that the plague has carried off
we would need to remain quiet
for an entire week
and that would only be
devoting a single second
for each of the dead.



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-Fourth Week

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

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

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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