LibrarianShipwreck

"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Twenty-Second Week

For the virus
this will not be
the final wave
for many of us however
this will be
the final wave.

*

Don’t exaggerate
it simply isn’t the case
that everyone is infected right now
that kind of hyperbole
doesn’t help anyone
however if you alter your plans
based on the assumption
that everyone
is infected right now
you just might manage
to keep yourself safe.

*

If given the power
to pick a single franchise
to end forever
it would be hard to pick between
the laser swords
and the wizard school
the heroes in tights
and the cloned dinosaurs
so many options to consider
but I think I would choose
the plague
for it has gone on far too long.

*

The candle you carry
will push the shadows away
for a moment
but you must remember
your candle is not
the end of the gloom
rather it is simply a tool
to illuminate your path
through the dark times before you.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between July 9, 2022 and July 15, 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.

*

So this
is what living
with the virus
looks like.

*

Those who have avoided infection
have not been bitten
by radioactive arachnids
survived bombardment
by gamma rays
or come to this planet
from a faraway world
the only thing they have in common
with fictional superhumans
is that they understand
the importance of a good mask.

*

A container of yogurt
salad greens
a carton of eggs
two cans of black beans
coffee
dish soap
three broccoli crowns
frozen pierogis
pumpernickel rye
and a jar of peanut butter
are the mundane things
for which I risked infection
as the man in line behind me
coughed and coughed.

*

My friend who has now
survived the plague twice
keeps joking
that the third time
will be the charm
and when I ask him
what he means by that
he stops laughing
for just long enough to say
that he doubts he can beat it
a third time.

*

My apartment has thick walls
they block out the sounds
of television and arguing
of music and lovemaking
whatever is happening next door
cannot be heard in here
though this morning I woke up
to the sound of someone coughing.

*

There’s an easy explanation
for how you feel right now:
you are hungover
of course your head aches
and your back is sore
your brain feels foggy
and you are so very tired
all of this is because
you are hungover.

At least this explanation
would make sense
had you been drinking.

*

The groom wore blue
the bridesmaids wore purple
the best man wore gray
the officiant wore floral print
the bride, of course, wore white
and I, I wore jeans and a t-shirt
while I scrolled through
their wedding photos
from the lonely safety of my couch.

*

Your best
may prove insufficient
masks slip down
errands needs running
strangers get too close
tests give incorrect results
hard as you try
(and goodness knows you’re trying)
your best
may prove insufficient
but this does not free you
from the obligation to try.

*

I will admit
that I am unsure
of the correct word
to describe the pharmacy
being sold out
of lozenges and cough medicine
in the middle of July
but I am fairly certain
that word is not “normal.”

*

Should your father-in-law
respond to your message
that you have tested positive
by offering to get you
some bizarre remedy
politely decline
but take some small comfort
in knowing that his offer
comes from a place of concern.

*

Your neighbors
are not as oblivious
as you think them to be
of course they know
that the pandemic isn’t over
they have friends and family
falling ill as well
it is not that they do not know
that the pandemic is not over
it’s just that they prefer
to act as if it were.

*

When the history
of these dark times is written
perhaps the historians will debate
whether our society collapsed
from the virus or with the virus.

*

What sets this wave
apart
from those we have already endured
is that by now we have accumulated
enough experience to know
that we shall learn
absolutely nothing
from this wave.

*

Please stop asking
if there is anyone out there
who can honestly say
that they are vaccinated
as well as boosted
and yet still have not
been infected
please stop asking
the plague doesn’t need help
picking targets.

*

Stop blaming yourself
he could have gotten it anywhere
from the man at the post office
or the cashier at the shop
the concert he went to
or the party he attended
it’s everywhere right now
so he could have gotten it anywhere
though that will not stop you
from blaming yourself.

*

Listen
there is no need to worry
all the tools you need
are already available to you
there are vaccination shots
and numerous test options
high-quality masks
and the latest treatments,
all the tools you might need
are available to you
at least they are
if you can afford them.

*

By now you should know
the difference between tenses
it is not that you
have survived the plague
but that you are still
surviving the plague.

*

*

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-Twenty-Second Week

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

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