LibrarianShipwreck

"More than machinery, we need humanity."

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

Please be advised:
when they told you
that you could bring
a plus one
to the holiday party
they were not inviting you
to bring the plague.

*

It’s nothing
he’s sure it’s nothing
just a sore throat
a stubborn headache
constant exhaustion
and a regular cough
but other than that
it’s nothing
he’s sure it’s nothing.

*

I have heard it said
that pestilence
rides a pale horse
and though I cannot say
whether or not that is true
these days it seems clear
that pestilence also rides
on planes and subways.

*

When I asked her
how her day had been
she told me that her coworker
(the one who had been
out sick all last week)
collapsed in the cafeteria
and before I can ask
or even express sympathy
she changes the subject
to what I’m making for dinner.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between December 3, 2022 and December 9, 2022.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems, on Mastodon at @plaguepoems@mastodon.social, 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.

*

Perhaps
if they did not respond
to momentary improvements
by encouraging everyone
to cast off their masks
they would not need to respond
to predictable deterioration
by sheepishly recommending
that everyone resume
wearing their masks.

*

I have learned to watch
for the little signs
a few more masked faces
in the supermarket,
a couple extra empty desks
around the office,
a shortage of flu medicine
at the pharmacy,
and today
for the first time in months
I saw a long line
outside the testing site.

*

When I ask her
how the event was
she replies with a laugh
that if she had not been sick
before
she is definitely sick now,
which I must say
does not sound
like a particularly good time.

*

How strange it is
to hear that
“one need not wait
on CDC action
in order
to put a mask on”
when one has been mocked
for still wearing a mask
in the months
after the CDC said
that masks could be taken off.

*

At the front of the reading room
the tweed-clad academic
assures the librarian
that he is willing
to wear cotton gloves
in order to protect the material
he will be handling
but his uncovered face
and repeated coughs
shows he is unwilling to do much
to protect the librarian.

*

At the end of the show
the camera panned
away from the smiling talent
to show the fully masked crew,
how nice it must be
to dismissively cover the pandemic
from the safety
of a precaution taking set.

*

No one warned you
but by now you know
it is lonely
and thankless work
giving a damn.

*

Please, do not call me
an alarmist or
a doom-monger or
an anxiety addict
if you must affix a name
to my stubborn precautions
call me Bartleby
for I
would prefer not to
contract the virus.

*

If you still do not understand
that your personal choices
have impacts
that are not confined
solely to yourself
I do not know what to tell you
which is fine
because you would not listen
anyways.

*

“Goblin mode”
I grumble to myself
as I slouch my unkempt body
across my messy apartment
trying to find an amusing way
to describe the sorry creature
the pandemic has made of me.

*

Regretfully, I had decline
their wedding invitation
a flight and indoor reception
was not a risk I was willing to take
but that was two years ago
and now they are divorcing
so perhaps I will make it
to her next wedding
assuming, of course,
the pandemic has ended by then.

*

Things are different now
this moment is not like
how things were
last year and the year before
yes, I am again sitting here
alone in this room
anxiously reading the news
bracing for the situation
to deteriorate further
but things are different this year:
for I have a new chair.

*

My friend, I am here for you
and will listen to you
should you need to
tell me you are anxious, or
tell my you are frightened, or
tell me you are tired,
but my patience is finite
so please do not
tell me you weren’t warned.

*

If there are days
when you look around
and think to yourself
that everyone has given up
just keep looking
and eventually you will see
another masked face go by
while this is not much
while this is not enough
let it remind you
you are not the only one
still fighting the plague.

*

I’m not asking for a lot
for the holidays
I do not need a new car
fancy clothes or pricey electronics
all I am asking for
the only thing I want
is for the plague to spare
me and my loved ones,
which I realize may actually mean
that I’m asking for quite a lot.

*

Remember
if you can survive
the plague
you can survive anything
so now
you just need
to survive the plague.

*

*

Plague Poems…the following week

Plague Poems…the first week

Plague Poems…the full list

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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-Forty-Third Week

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

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