"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Eighty-Seventh Week

According to the scale
that I keep in my bathroom
I weigh now
more or less the same
as I did
when the pandemic began
so I suppose
this hollowness I feel
is not the result
of weight loss.


By the time
the public discourse
adopts a new death toll
for use in headlines
and idle conversation
that galling number
is already out of date.


It should not take
the words of
a giant yellow bird
to force us to admit
that the pandemic
has not ended.


The days
seem now
to be getting darker
earlier and earlier
and also
it is daylight saving time.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between November 6, 2021 and November 13, 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.


According to the news
it is getting worse
over there
but we are confident
it will not get worse
over here.

In the past
when it has gotten worse
over there
it was a prelude
to it getting worse
over here
but we are certain
that this time
will be different.


Tragic deaths
are unexpected
their occurrence shakes us
from our normal expectations
and the exact number
of deaths
stares at us from the headlines.

Plague deaths
are no longer unexpected
thousands dead each week
fill graveyards not headlines
for we have let this become normal.


When you grow tired
of wearing a mask
of safety precautions
of health advisories
of online meetings
of all of this
just remember
that the virus
has not grown tired.


When the plague was new
we found comfort
in the comment
that we
were all in this together
and though we knew
(even then)
that those were just words
and not promises
how preferable
such words were
to the silence that reminds us
that we are alone.


at having been proven
so tragically wrong
the pundits
who spent the summer claiming
that the pandemic had ended
have adjusted their responses
instead of saying now
that the pandemic has ended
they simply do not speak
of the pandemic at all.


The plague
has changed
and yet
has remained
the same.


It is better
to brace yourself
for things to get worse
and then be able
to exhale and relax
when the worse does not come
than to be caught unprepared.

after nearly two years
you should know that.


I confess
that though I still worry
about the pandemic
when I read the news
I feel as though the pandemic
is the least of our worries.


We stand on the beach
in our wet shoes
staring out at the sea
where the signs
of another approaching wave
of yet another approaching wave
become clearer
we try to cry out
a warning
but we have grown hoarse
and those loudly reveling
on the beach’s sand
are not listening anyways.


On telephone poles
throughout my city
someone has posted signs
exhorting us
to love our neighbors
of their vaccination status.

I wish I had a marker
so I could write on these posters
that it is because
I love my neighbors
that I am vaccinated
and hope they are too.


At least a year ago
we could still tell ourselves
that all of this
would be over
if we could just wait
for the vaccines to arrive.


And tomorrow
will be just like today
but probably
a little worse.


Furious though I am
at everything
the plague has done to us
I am far more angry
at everything
we continue to do
to ourselves.


A year ago
I sat here
in this office
gazing out the window
as the leaves
turned yellow
while waiting
for the pandemic to get worse.

Now I sit
in the same office
watching the same tree
waiting on the same pandemic.

I cannot say
nothing has changed
for now
I have a different chair.


Confident that it was unneeded
we tossed the compass
certain that the shore
lay just on the other side
of this clinging fog.

But we find ourselves
at the site
of the sinking ship
we escaped.

New waves rock our lifeboat
and our arms
are too tired to keep rowing.


If you carry
your phone
in your pocket
for too long
its shape
leaves a mark
that it was there.

who have carried
the plague
in your mind
on your back
in your stomach
on your tongue
for so long
know that it
has left marks
all over you
even if
they are not visible.



Plague Poems…the following 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-Seventh Week

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

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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