"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Tenth Week

Repeat after me:
I won’t get sick
that happens to others
not to me
my coworker with the loud laugh
acquaintances from school
my cousin twice removed
neighbors of my friends
they, alas, will get sick
but no, not me
I will be fine.

Keep saying it
maybe you’ll start to believe it.


One of my friends
spent the weekend
focused on bread
that has not risen.

And one of my friends
spent the weekend
focused on he
who has risen.

While I
spent the weekend
focused on the news
that cases have risen.


I know a family
that has evolved in their thinking
their risk calculations have changed
in this third year of plague
they are choosing now
to put living their lives
above avoiding the virus
please understand
they have to do what is best
for their family
so to hell with yours.


I don not miss the days
when the plague
was the only thing
about which we spoke
though I will confess
when the plague
was the only thing
about which we spoke
at least there was a sense
that each of us
was part of a we.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between April 16, 2022 and April 22, 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.


When they said
the virus is airborne
I did not realize
that they were referring
to airplanes.


It is not the case
that the plague
has ended
but that the fight
against the plague
has ended
unfortunately for us
the plague has won
in the end.


Do not fixate
on how history will judge you
most of us are too insignificant
to ever earn the historian’s eye
your actions
may be captured in statistics
but history will not recall
your specific actions
history will not judge you
but your vulnerable neighbors will.


From us
this plague has taken much:
our plans and our time
our friends and our family
our work and our finances
our health and our youth.

None can deny that
from us
this plague has taken much.

But the plague has not taken
our hope
that was taken from me
by other people.


At this point
to still be wearing a mask
is to be making a fashion statement
the fashion statement being made
by still wearing a mask is:
the pandemic has not ended.


Is the plague
more dangerous than [this]?
Is the plague
more dangerous than [that]?
I confess, it is hard to say
though it seems clear
that the plague
is more contagious than [this]
and more contagious than [that].


Most of us
do not recall math class fondly
formulas to memorize
mean median and mode
sine cosine and tangent
the order of operations
figuring out a tip is hard enough
so when we are asked
to perform risk calculations
we keep the equation simple
by not factoring in other people.


Go check the numbers
you will clearly see
there is plenty of room
in the hospitals
there are plenty of open beds
stop worrying so much
get back out there
go live your life
and if that ensures
the hospitals start filling up again
just tell yourself
that’s someone else’s problem.


It’s probably just allergies
the trees are budding
the flowers are blooming
your windows are open
stop worrying so much
yes, your symptoms are strange
not your usual allergy ones
but smile through your coughing fit
after all, it’s probably just allergies.


My coughing friend
insists that he is fine
his head may ache
his throat may be sore
his body may be exhausted
bur really, he insists he’s fine
there’s no need for him to get tested
besides he just needs to be okay
for the next two weeks
so he’s fine he is fine
he has to be fine.


There are many films
in which the characters
are trapped
in a day that repeats perpetually
until they learn
how to escape the cycle.

After three years
of repetitive pandemic
we know that what makes such films
is that eventually the characters
learn to escape.


I read a science fiction novel
in which the author imagines
a disaster filled future
in which rising death tolls
convince people
to change their selfish ways
clearly the novel was written
before the pandemic.


the tip of my nose
and the backs of my ears
and the flesh of my lips
have all grown quite accustomed
to the mask’s embrace
I must admit
that I would still prefer
not to need to wear it.


The phrase
“we are all in this together”
is just a way of describing
that brief moment in time
before the wealthy realize
how to buy their way out
of the we.


There’s an explanation
it’s too dry in your bedroom
you’ve always know that
everyone has heard you say so
you know you should get a humidifier
but then you never buy a humidifier
they’re surprisingly expensive
so it stays too dry in your bedroom
and that explains your dry cough.


It is often said
that we never believe
it can happen to us
until it does
but we are now
in the third year
of it happening to us
and we still
do not believe it.



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-Tenth Week

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

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