"More than machinery, we need humanity."

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

If you turn on the news
you will hear it said
that the pandemic is over
though this will certainly
come as quite a surprise
to the virus.


“The pandemic is over”
is just another way of saying
that you
are on your own.


That you
are over the pandemic
does not mean
that the pandemic
is over.


Regardless of what
they say on the news
it is still the right time
it is always the right time
to take care of one another.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between September 17, 2022 and September 23, 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.


An affirmation to say
on a Monday morning:

I have survived
more than a hundred weeks
of the plague
and so I know
I will probably survive
this week
of the plague as well.


By today’s end
the pandemic will be over
for hundreds
by the week’s end
the pandemic will be over
for thousands
I hope that you and yours
will not be among them.


The situation is different
we are not now
where we once were
we have had so much time
to learn and prepare
the situation is different
by now we should know
better than this.


The more loudly
they insist
that the pandemic
is already over
the more it feels
like the pandemic
will never end.


And though I know
you will probably scoff
when I say this
please believe me when I say
that no one wants
the pandemic to be over more
than the people
who insist on reminding you
that the pandemic is not over yet.


I hope
the test-kits expire
without being used.

I hope
that I wasted money
buying extra masks.

I hope
eventually I feel silly
for still being worried.

I hope
you are right
that the pandemic is over.

I hope
you are right
and that I am wrong.

God damn
how I hope
that you are right.


to a reputable source
yesterday marked
the end of the pandemic
for four hundred and twenty seven
of your neighbors
how fortunate you are
that the pandemic
has not yet ended
for you.


Please, do not be silly
of course,
I will not wear this mask forever.
Can you not see
that it is disposable?
Of course
I will not wear this mask forever
for tomorrow
I will wear a new one.


My colleague complains
about his scratchy throat
when asked about it
he hastens to add
that it is nothing serious
certainly nothing to worry about
this always happens to him
once it gets cold
and everyone is too tired
to point out
that it’s been in the eighties
for weeks.


It is no surprise
that the sight
of numbers
has so little impact
after all, if you look
at numbers
you will not see
actual people
but you will see
the word numb.


Before you declare
that this society
is simply unwilling to change
for the sake of public health
try to remember
when was the last time
you were asked at a restaurant
if you wanted to sit
in the smoking section.


The package of cookies
in the back of the cupboard
and I, have so much in common
for we were both
best before March 2020.


I asked my friend, the rabbi,
if there is a blessing
to say over test-kits
and she responded
that yes, there is a blessing
to say over test kits:
may this test kit expire
long before I do.


I fear
that based on the crowd
at this memorial service
many of us will find ourselves
attending other memorial services
before long.


According to the news
the case numbers are rising
over there
but I am not worried
no, I am not concerned at all
for I have been assured
that the pandemic has ended
over here.


I know you despise
business terminology
but you really must admit
that “quiet quitting”
aptly describes
what many people are doing
when faced with the work
of taking pandemic precautions.


Plague era
I say to myself
as I sit at home
in the hopes that I
might survive
long enough to have
other eras.


A two-pack of test kits
costs twenty-five dollars
at the pharmacy.

A thirty-pack of masks
costs eighteen dollars
(plus shipping) online.

For drug and vaccine costs
you will have to check
with your insurance provider.

Ask not
what tools we have
ask which tools
you can afford.


What differentiates
the plague
from the other leading causes
of death
is that unlike
the other leading causes
of death
the plague is contagious.


Should they tell you
that the plague
is all in your head
it is important to recognize
that they are wrong,
for the plague may also be
in your lungs,
in your heart,
in your kidneys,
in your pancreas,
and in your arteries.

So clearly,
it is not all in your head.


At my first shot
I was confident
confident we were in this together.

At my second shot
I was hopeful
hopeful about the pandemic’s end.

At my third shot
I was relieved
relieved for further protection.

And at my fourth shot
I was not
confident or hopeful or relieved
just tired
so very tired.


Though I still recall
how things were before
I confess
that I am beginning to forget
that I am struggling to remember
the person that I was
before 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 @libshipwreck

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

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

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