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

And now
when you hear them speak
of the public health emergency
you have to reply
“which one?”

*

The alarmists and minimizers
are united
in at least one thing
for both groups hope
that the alarmists will be wrong.

*

When we finally speak
he tells me about his job
and how in twenty-seven years
he will retire from it
with a decent pension
maybe he’ll bank vacation days
and retire in twenty-six years
we laugh at this
and then he remembers
he doesn’t believe
our society has that many years left.

*

I cannot blame the virus
for my headache or sore throat
my muscle pain or fever
for I do not currently have
any of those symptoms
and yet I am tired
so very tired these days
and though I am not infected
I attribute my exhaustion to the virus.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between July 23, 2022 and July 29, 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.

*

I keep telling myself
that as long as I keep writing
these foolish words
that it means
the plague has not defeated me
though the longer I write
these foolish words
the more I feel
that I am only bearing witness
to how the plague
has defeated all of us.

*

I confess
it would be easier
not to worry about the pox
if those telling us
not to worry about the pox
were not the same people
who had once told us
not to worry about the pandemic.

*

If you will not wear a mask
to protect yourself
from the plague
perhaps you will wear one
to hide the sores you received
from the pox.

*

Be realistic
all of that money
has to come from somewhere
stop getting your hopes up
about free testing and masks
free vaccines and boosters
the money simply isn’t in the budget
just be grateful the funds are going
where they are truly needed:
towards buying
you town’s police department a tank.

*

It is difficult to know
with total certainty
what the plague and pox
will mean for our schools
and though I long to be a parent
in this moment
I feel lucky to be childless.

*

If you are feeling sick
please (please) just stay home
that is what sick days are for
take the time you need to recover
and if you do not
have any sick days left
(or any sick days at all)
and you are feeling sick
well, when you go into work
just try your best
not to exhale.

*

I have emails to send
and deadlines to meet
there is laundry to fold
and there are errands to run
I have friends to call
and obligations to fulfill
but I do not have the time
to do any of those things
for I am far too busy
watching everything falling apart.

*

It is only a matter of time
before we are told
to stop worrying so much
and instead learn to live
with monkeypox.

*

The question
of whether or not
you should isolate
for five days
or seven days
or ten days
or even longer
is not much of a question
when you cannot afford
to isolate at all.

*

Amongst the experts
there is widespread
disagreement
not about if
our situation will get worse
but over just how much
worse it will get.

*

Perhaps some day
we shall learn from history
but as we face the pox
we are having a hard enough time
even learning from the history
of the last two years.

*

Keep things in perspective
yes, the case numbers
are increasing
as are the numbers
of those hospitalized and in ICUs
the pandemic’s daily death toll
that too is rising
and yes, there is also the pox
but it’s not really all bad out there
at least the price of gas
is decreasing.

*

Amidst the debates
over whether or not
we are in a recession
it is worth remembering
that at this moment
we are still in a pandemic.

*

After so long
stuck indoors
my friend had hoped
that his trip would be
a positive experience
and this it certainly was
at least to the extent
that when he returned home
his test results
came back positive.

*

And now
when you tell them
that you have contracted it
you must be prepared
for them to respond
by asking you
which it you have contracted.

*

Should you get through this
you will not recall
this week’s minor defeats
you will forget
asking your boss for an extension
ordering takeout for every meal
and that you (quite frankly)
barely did anything
all you need to remember
is that this was another week
that you survived.

*

*

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-Fourth Week

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

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