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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Fifteenth Week

I have heard
that this wave of the virus
(though bad)
will not be as bad
as the previous wave of the virus
and while I hope this is true
I have not forgotten
how the same things was said
about the previous wave.

*

After revisiting their calculations
and double checking the math
they have come to the conclusion
that your life
is actually worth
eight more at-home test kits.

You are welcome.

*

It is said
that wearing a mask
in areas of high transmission
especially when
you are in crowded indoor spaces
is just basic public health
and so it certainly is
though it also
is just basic public health
not to keep telling people
that the pandemic is over
before it really is.

*

I understand
that now is not the time
to panic
better to take a deep breath
and just carry on
I understand
yes, I understand
that now is not the time
to panic
but quite frankly
it does not seem like the problem
is that we are panicking
but that we
are just carrying on.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between May 21, 2022 and May 27, 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.

*

Listen, you should know
that history books
are not produced quickly
archival visits
checking secondary sources
writing then editing
fixing endnotes
these take time
and academic presses are slow
so please do not wait
to learn from this pandemic
until its history is written.

*

To each season
belongs a particular set
of sounds
and though these may not be
as obvious as the colors of leaves
these audible cues alert us
as much as the weather does
so you are not alone
in feeling like you are hearing
far more coughing
than is typical for the spring.

*

I wish that I believed
in miracles
for it increasingly seems
that only a miracle
will end this pandemic.

*

That you
have grown accustomed
to grief
does not mean
that you
have grown numb.

*

The tragedy
is not unimaginable
or unbelievable
or unthinkable
that which
is unimaginable
and unbelievable
and unthinkable
is the belief
that we might prevent
the next tragedy.

*

And before the dead
from last week’s calamity
have even been laid to rest
we find ourselves
digging fresh graves.

*

We shake our heads
at the civilizations of old
whose cruel leaders
sacrificed children
to appease
their gods
how advanced and
how rational we are
as we shake our heads
at our civilization
whose cruel leaders
sacrifice children
to appease
their campaign donors.

*

The moment
when there is
nothing
left to say
is the moment
when you must
open your mouth
and scream.

*

Do not bother asking
whether or not we
have become inured
to the catastrophic
after three years
of plague
you already know the answer.

Though (to be clear)
you knew that
before the plague
as well.

*

We can pause
but only a moment
a lengthy stop will make
the decay too fragrant
do not ponder the ruins
just pass them
do not mourn the dead
just bury them
do not change course
just keep going
we believe if we are walking
we must be walking somewhere
and so we
we just carry on.

*

There is no confusion
I know my address by heart
so believe me when I say
I am not living in fear
no, that is not my street
rather I am living here
in this exceptional land.

*

How wretched it would be
to state that we
have grown accustomed
to life
in a collapsing society
so instead we have learned
to call our numbness
resilience.

*

When they offered
their prayers
they neglected to mention
that they were praying
to Moloch.

*

How fortunate are those
who dwell in lands
where the greatest crisis
with which they must contend
is merely the plague.

*

Not that this
should comfort you
but as you find yourself
staring into the abyss
at least know
that you are surrounded
by friends and loved ones
who are staring into the abyss
right beside you.

*

Should you find yourself
wondering
why it is that this
feels so much worse
than past griefs
remind yourself
that after three years
of plague
your stores of hope
are depleted.

*

We were so afraid
that if we looked back
at the destruction behind us
that we would be transformed
into pillars of salt
that we hardly noticed
how in the present moment
we had already turned
to stone.

*

Did you
finish the book
you meant to complete?

Did you
let the vegetables spoil
before cooking them?

Did you
fall even further behind
on all your work?

Did you
reach the week’s end
with nothing to show?

Did you
really believe
that living
in times such as these
would be easy?

*

If I knew the way out
I would tell you
if I could steady my breath
I would reveal my technique
if I had hope to spare
I would share it with you
if not for these ifs
I would offer you all I could
so here is my shaking hand
too distant to be held
but nevertheless I hold it out
to you.

*

*

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 librarianshipwreck.wordpress.com @libshipwreck

One comment on “Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Fifteenth Week

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

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