"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Seventy-Fifth Week

Of course we know
that there are events
occurring in the world
other than the plague
but that does not mean
that we can blithely ignore
the plague.


clung to knowledge.

clung to hope.

cling to nothing.


My great aunt
has always gone to bed early
the idea of her ever being awake
past 10 is unthinkable
she has too many things to do
in the morning
for her to want to stay up late.

After months of hesitancy
she joined me for dinner
and did not depart for home
until nearly midnight.


Before she left
my great aunt pulled me
into her arms
and with the might
of 93 years
held me close

As she turned to leave
she calmly said
“hugs aren’t as good over zoom”
and I was too weak
to say anything
other than goodbye.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between August 14, 2021 and August 20, 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.


All of this
and still
spcingand still
and still
spcingand still
and still
spcingand still
and still
spcingand still
the plague


The scuffed sticker
on the shop’s floor
humbly requests that customers
practice social distancing.

Even after such a long time
many people (evidently)
still require more practice.


Like a highway under construction
my shoulders are closed
should you need
something to lean on
somewhere to stop, or
something to cry on
do not bother stopping here
my shoulders are closed
at the moment it is hard enough
for me to maintain myself.


Standing masked
in the line to buy a candy bar
at this highway rest stop
I glance at the face
of my wristwatch and note
that I am making good time
quickly growing more distant
from the safety of where I was
while hastily progressing towards
a place to which I am wary of going.


At first
the sign in the window said
masks required
by city ordinance.

And then
the sign in the window said
masks required
only for the unvaccinated

And then
the sign in the window
disappeared completely.

And now
the sign in the window says
masks required
by city ordinance.


Tramps like us
we were born to
be eaten by the plague.


That we are here
is not proof
that we must learn
to live with the plague.

that we are here
is proof
that we must learn
that what we have been doing
is not working.


My recently married cousin
keeps asking me
what we will tell our childern
what we will tell our grandchildren
about the pandemic
and because he looks so pained
I do not tell him
that our children and grandchildren
will have far worse things
to worry about.


Sackcloth robes and
disposable face masks
are uncomfortable to wear
in the summer’s heat
the constant chafing
makes it impossible
to simply enjoy the weather
the intent of such attire
is not to provide
that kind of comfort.


You must not expect the fact
that the plague is once more
claiming thousands of lives weekly
to convince you
that everyone is paying attention
to our present debacle
for most of us grew accustomed
to the plague
claiming thousands of lives weekly
more than a year ago.


She used to say
that I was like a goldfish
but with books:
my library would grow
to fill whatever space I had.

If she could see
how I have changed
filling whatever space I have
with quiet despair
instead of with books
I imagine she would still
be glad
she chose to flush me away.


The more this begins to feel
like normal
the harder you must work
to remind yourself
that this is not normal.


Stop saying
that we are exactly where
we were a year ago
at this point last year
we were still able to hope
that the pandemic would end
once the vaccines arrived.


We spent too much time
about the unsinkable ships
we would someday travel on
and not early enough time
ourselves with the escape routes
from this ship
in whose flooding hold
we are trapped.


Do not despair
you must remember
that no plague
lasts forever.

no plague lasts forever
but you must remember
this does not mean
that the present plague
might not last
for a third year, or
for a fourth year, or
for a fifty year, or
for what feels like forever.


I try not to wonder
about how you are
so instead I think about
how your father is managing
he always seemed lonely
in his condominium
with only his cats and his
memories of your mother
and that was before all of this
I wish I could ask you how he is
but instead I will just wonder.



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 Seventy-Fifth Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Seventy-Fourth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  2. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Seventy-Sixth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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