"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Forty-First Week

How do you
survive a plague?
you do not try
to survive the plague
instead you focus
on trying to survive
the week.


When I read the headlines
I tell myself
that we must not
grow accustomed
to mass death
and then I notice
that absent
from the headlines
are the plague’s victims
and I remember
that we have already
grown accustomed
to mass death.


Yes, I suppose
that I shall stay here
at least a while longer
for it has been useful
as well as comforting
to have a place
however imperfect
where we could gather together
to share our worries
about the plague
without needing to worry
that we would contract it here.


I will admit
that I have always been skeptical
of the description:
normal healthy people,
but I will also admit
that I have several friends
who would have
described themselves as
normal healthy people
until, that is,
they contracted the virus.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between November 19, 2022 and November 25, 2022.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems, on Mastodon at, and on Instagram at @plague_poems.

Throughout the duration of this crisis new poems will be posted regularly at the above mentioned accounts, they will then be collected and reposted here as weekly compendiums.


I would love to leave this place
and forget I was ever here
the management is horrible
the infrastructure failing
my friends are vanishing
and those that stay are sullen
bad as it is, bad as it was
I am just bracing for worse
yes, if I could, I would love
to leave the pandemic.


could have seen this coming.

And those that did
see this coming?

Well, they don’t count,
for they are just a bunch
of nobodies.


When I ask
how her semester is going
my cousin says
that she and her peers
are resilient
after all, they are the generation
of the active-shooter drill,
they can endure the pandemic,
my cousin says this,
but then adds
that she and her peers
should not have to be resilient.


Should you ask them
to take precautionary steps
or provide accommodation
they will look through you
as if you are invisible
and should you
decide to show up
with a mask on your face
they will glare at you
for daring to be visible.


I can tell
that you have run out
of patience
with all of these precautions
and mild inconveniences
but please understand
the plague has not run out
of patients.


After so much practice
this year we know
exactly what we need to do
in order to prevent
a post-holiday case spike
it’s quite simple really
all we need to do
is stop counting new cases.


you finalize your plans
take a moment to consider
that none of your friends
or family or loved ones
will say
thanks for giving
me the virus.


Your grandmother
will bring
the green bean casserole.

Your uncle
will bring
the mashed potatoes.

Your sister
will bring
the pumpkin pie.

Your father
will bring
the vegetarian stuffing.

Your cousin
will bring
the roasted turkey.

Just hope
that nobody
will bring
the plague.


The turkey was thawed
based on USDA guidelines
and its temperature
will be monitored as it cooks
separate cutting boards
will prevent cross contamination,
but wear a mask
when you run to the supermarket
or ask your guests to test?
Ridiculous! You don’t want
to seem too cautious.


I confess
that I am struggling
with gratitude of late
anger and exhaustion
have become
my dominant emotions
but I will admit
whenever I see
another masked face
I feel thankful.


A prayer
for this day of thanks:
may you leave
your festive gathering
with a full stomach
a plate of leftovers
and without the virus.


I am thankful
that I
can still taste my food
and I am thankful
that I
can still smell it.

I am thankful
that I
am still here
and I am thankful
that I
am not completely alone.

I know
it isn’t terribly much
to be thankful for
but right now
it is enough.

It is enough.


And now
I have exhausted my supply
of gratitude
for the things in my life
and thus
I shall return to my deeper store
of fury
for the state of this world.


You need not tell me
about the importance of joy
believe me, I understand
a sullen visage
brings comfort to no one
depressed words spread despair
misery poisons the company
you are right to say we need
delight and hope
but please understand
some of us still need to mourn.


When I hear him say
during the pandemic
in the past tense
I no longer bother replying
that we are still
during the pandemic
it’s not that I’ve given up
but that I’m tired
just that I’m very tired
of having to remind him
that the pandemic
isn’t over yet.


Over the course
of the pandemic
my closest friend
became a father
my older sister
purchased a house
my secret nemesis
completed a PhD
and as for me
I accomplished nothing
except, that is,
for surviving this far
which I suppose
still counts as something.



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-Forty-First Week

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

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