"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Eighty-Third Week

It is not
that you
are living
in fear.

But that
even after
so many months
you are still living
in a pandemic.


We are eager
for the pandemic to end
so that our lives
of flagrant desperation
can finally end and
so that our lives
of private desperation
may resume.


There are days
when I mourn
for my future.

there are days
when I mourn
for all of our futures.


We in this mob
are bound together
with knots
that cannot be cut or untied
and though a desperate few
call out
trying to persuade this crowd
to change directions
their voices go unheard
beneath the loud stomping of feet
as we march towards oblivion.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between October 9, 2021 and October 15, 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.


Believe me
I would not
keep saying this
if it did not need
to keep being said
so please (I beg you)
stop speaking
about the pandemic
in the past tense.


Of course I know
that it is rude to eavesdrop
but when the couple behind me
began discussing why
they have refused the vaccine
I could not help but try
to listen
it was difficult to make out
their exact reasons
though I could clearly hear
that the pandemic
will not be ending soon.


When our descendants ask
what we did
during the pandemic
by our silence
they will know
that what we did
during the pandemic
was ignore it
as much as we could.


Do not say that we
are where we were a year ago
at this point back then
the number of new cases and
the number of new deaths
were rising
whereas now
those numbers are declining.

Very well
but remember
today’s declining numbers
remain higher
than the rising numbers
from a year ago.


I do not fear
the plague.

What I fear
is that we
will learn nothing
from the plague.


How difficult it is
to find a quiet room
in which to sit
gather your thoughts
and plan your next steps
when the rooms
between which you move
are in a building ablaze.


They say that
a year
for a human
is the equivalent
of seven years
for a dog.

Though I still
walk on two legs
and lack a tail
like a dog
every year
of the plague times
has aged me the equivalent
of seven years.


Go to your refrigerator
and check to see
how your sourdough starter
is doing.

You have been forgetting
to feed it
haven’t you?

Do not despair
if your attempts
to coax it back to life
should fail
clearly by now
you have found ways
other than bakign
to cope with this ordeal.


We should not expect
to remember later
that which we ignored
while it was still happening.


Like travelers
returning from a trip
on which everything
went wrong
we would prefer
not to be asked
how we have been.

Thank you for offering
to help us with our luggage
but all of our bags
went down with the ship
we are still learning
how to carry
this weight we now bear.


It was meant
as a compliment
but when she noted
how pleased she was
with how I
had just continued working
throughout the pandemic
all I could feel
was the aching hollowness
I had used work
to distract myself from.


None of us want
to continue
about the plague,
we are overused mops
our heads have soaked up as much
worry and misery as we can hold
yet we ring ourselves out
and go back to absorb more
knowing that so long as we do so
the plague has not yet
beaten us.


When I finally returned
after months of longing
I found the food to be
not as good
as I had remembered it.

Perhaps the quality
truly has degraded
but I hid my disappointment
behind polite thanks
for I know that I
am likewise not as good
as I was before the pandemic.


though they were at the time
I miss the debates
from the early summer
in which we would argue
about whether or not
the pandemic was over.

For so long as we were
still squabbling about it
at least we were acting
as though the pandemic
was worthy of our attention.


Wretched though
the old normal
truly was
and detestable though
the new normal
certainly is
do not be so eager
for the arrival
of the next normal.

By now you should know
it might be worse.


Along the coast
the lighthouses have fallen
into neglect and ruin
the rocky shores remain
but the ships no longer
rely on the towers’ stubborn light
to warn them of danger
ours is a technological age
of global positioning systems
not aging beacons of stone.

And yet, ships
still sink.



Plague Poems…the next 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

One comment on “Plague Poems – The Eighty-Third Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Eighty-Second Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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This entry was posted on October 20, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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