"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Fourth Week

Do not mistake
the coming
of the spring
for the departure
of the plague.


Get out of your home
you have been working from there
for far too long
enough with sitting
anxiously and miserably
by yourself at home
it’s time to get back to the office
where you will again be able to sit
anxiously and miserably
with your co-workers.


I know you are busy, your focus
is understandably occupied
by other horrors at the moment
but please pause
at least briefly
and force yourself to acknowledge
that as of today
the pandemic has claimed
more than

six million lives

you must force yourself
to acknowledge this.


At last, the website
has plenty of masks
back in stock.

Once more, the pharmacy
has shelves filled
with at-home test kits.

Right now, the hospital
has empty beds
should you need one.

The only thing
that is currently in short supply
is empathy.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between March 5, 2022 and March 11, 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.


Bear witness
but do not
become a voyeur
there is a difference
the difference is simple
a witness
does not cheer.


It would be easier
to find hope and comfort
in the signs of spring’s approach
had I not watched
those same exact signs
through this same exact window
from this same exact chair
last year and the year before it.

Seasons change
but plagues persist.


Be it once hundred thousand
or one million
every number is calculable
they are just numbers
a number is not
a lover or a parent or a child
or a co-worker or a friend
it is nameless it is faceless
numbers can never be incalculable
for the exist
to make the incalculable calculable.


The price of gas
is going up.

The cost of groceries
is rising.

It seems as though
wherever you look
everything is just becoming
more and more expensive.

And yet
human life
remains cheap.


We took the masks
off of our faces
tore them in half
and stuffed the fabric
deep into our ears
so that we would not be bothered
by those blasted alarmists
who are telling us
that we never should have
taken off our masks.


Thank you for your email
the reminder to back up my files
just in case
a massive cyber-attack occurs
I confess I had been so preoccupied
dwelling on other threats
that I had forgotten about that one.

So thank you
for reminding me
that there are even more things
to worry about.


How silly
is the woman in the raincoat
the reports say the storm is over
there will be clear skies
for the rest of the day
it was pouring before
but now it’s just drizzling
yet still she wears a raincoat.

How silly
is the woman in the raincoat
until the downpour
proves her right.


with your mask removed
your mouth will be visible
this will mean that you
will once more be expected
to smile
even though there is so very little
worth smiling about these days.


There is no shame
in admitting
that you wear your mask
out of fear
for there is nothing irrational
about being afraid
of a virus that has killed millions
and even if you are not
frightened for yourself
there is no shame
in fearing for
your elderly parents.


Do not mistake the plague
for an alleyway cut purse
or sneaky pickpocket
yes, much has been stolen from you
but the plague is not thief
if you wish to find
the ones who have robbed you
look not at the plague
but at those
whose responsibility it was
to protect you
from this plague.


If you are tired of fighting
and ready to surrender
to the plague
you need not publicly fly
a white flag
it is more than sufficient
for you to publicly display
your white teeth.


Don’t be so cynical!
There is ample proof
that if they are asked
people will do what they can
to help one another
when the plea is made
the selfless outnumber the selfish
yet in the absence of a request
those who believe
that nothing is asked of them
will be content to do nothing.


Forget what you knew
about the year’s seasons
winter then spring
summer then fall
those are irrelevant here
in the plague years
there are only two seasons:
complacency then consequences.


Once again
the plague
is getting worse
over there
but this time
unlike the last time
or the time before that
we are certain
we are so very certain
that it cannot possibly
get worse again
over here.


I no longer remember where I was
two years ago today
when they declared it
a pandemic
nor can I recall what I though
upon first seeing the announcement
and though I have forgotten
the specifics of that day
I am certain I did not think
it would still be going on
two years later.


I sit here reading
about disasters
the unheeded warnings
the choices not taken
the foolish reporters
the experts mocked as alarmists
the uncaring leaders
the easily distracted public
yes, on most days
I just sit here reading
about disasters
and on some days
I also read the news.


It was difficult enough
to count the dead
before our society decided
that the dead do not count.


When it began
we found solace in believing
that we would emerge
stronger and wiser
than we had been before
if we could not be spared
we would still learn.

Had it occurred
that unwanted education
would have been
a somber consolation prize
but at least it would have been



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-Fourth Week

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

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