"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-First Week

They have already
allowed it to happen
to the safety net
as well as
to the social fabric
so it is just in keeping
with their general stance
that in regards to the plague
they have decided
to just let it rip.


My apologies
I walk slowly
there’s no need to wait with me
pick up the pace if you’d like
please, just go on ahead
it’s fine (really, it’s fine)
if you go quickly now, perhaps
you’ll reach our destination
before me. I hope you do
if not
you’ll catch back down to me


The columnists will tell you
that you must listen
to the science
according to the columnists
the science says:
go shopping.


Red is the rose
green is the clover
this horrid pandemic
still isn’t over.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between February 12, 2022 and  February 18, 2022.

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.


Do not be angry
that your four tests arrived
as the wave is receding
check the expiration date
they’ll stay usable for some time
just stick them under the sink
they don’t take up much space
be glad you don’t need them today
but hold onto them
for tomorrow.


I do not miss
the grocery store
being out of toilet paper
or the pharmacy
not knowing when thermometers
would be back in stock.

I do not miss
endlessly staring
at my computer screen
or pacing always pacing
in my apartment.

But I do miss
when we could admit
that we were worried.


It is fair
that you desire credit
for being right
two years ago
when you called for caution,
yet you also deserve credit
for being wrong
one year ago
when you called for celebration,
it is hard to trust
that you are correct now
given that you have only been right
half the time.


Listen, it isn’t that we
are heartless monsters
we fully understand that you
may need some time
in which to grieve
and process your trauma
we get that, really we do,
but if you insist on mourning
we ask that you do it quietly
otherwise you’ll wind up
bothering the shoppers.


We understand
of course we understand
that normal is an impossibility
which is why
we are ready to settle
for the illusion of normal.


And we
were made of tin
our chests hollow
and cold.

And we
roared loudly
to distract from
our cowardice.

And we
were made of straw
our heads vacant
but flammable.

And we
were walking along
in worn out slippers
so desperate to return
to anything that would feel
like home.


If you want to know
what differentiates
the new normal
the old normal
all you need to understand
is that the new normal
is just like the old normal
except in the new normal
we no longer believe
our society can manage
a pandemic.


A wise person
once told me
to be a candle in the dark
to hold a candle in the dark
I have tried to obey
though I recognize
that even at my best
the candle I am
the candle I hold
is unfortunately
a yahrzeit candle.


We miss seeing your face
it has been covered up for so long
at this point we can scarcely recall
what your nose
what your lips
what your chin even look like.
Did you have a beard? A nose ring?
We do not remember.

We miss seeing your face,
and the plague misses seeing it too.


You cannot expect
shared sacrifice
from a people
who consider sharing
to be a socialist plot.


We were told
our destination
which glowed faintly in the distance
was a city upon a hill
but as we drew closer
we can see the gleam’s  true source
perhaps there was once
a city there
but now all we behold
is a funeral pyre upon a hill.


If we wanted to
we could make things easier
for each other
a little more support
a little more patience
a little more empathy
but it requires much less effort
from us
to just make things easier
for the plague.


They needed
to end
it is easier
to end
the precautions
than it is
to end
the pandemic.


How unfortunate it is
that so many
have surrendered
to fear
still wearing masks
still staying inside
still taking precautions.

That is now way to live!

Do not give in to fear
take off your mask
go back to the bar
embrace the risks.

Do not
surrender to fear
surrender instead
to the virus.


It was everywhere
for some time,
surely you remember the map
with rankings
in yellow orange and red
of which nations
were most prepared
and which nations
were least prepared
for a pandemic.

The normalcy we long for
is how we felt
when we could look at that map
and believe it.


Wash the dishes
fold the laundry
sweep the floor
vacuum the rugs
wipe down the counter tops
take out the recycling
and replace the dead light bulbs
it will do you well
to feel that you have control
over something
just don’t expect that feeling
to last.


There are many things
I had always hoped
to experience in my life
though I must admit
a plague
was not one of them.



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 Hundred-and-First Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Hundredth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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