"More than machinery, we need humanity."

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

Is there a prayer
to say at the start
of a new wave?

Yes, there is a prayer
to say at the start
of a new wave:
I pray that this will be
the plague’s last wave
and if it is not
the plague’s last wave
I pray that it
will not be my last wave.


Apparently, this new wave
is simply the one
everyone has been anticipating
for months and months
but if that is true
and we knew this was coming
it only makes it more tragic
it only makes it more unforgivable
that we did not try harder
to prevent it.


I know, I know,
I am not keeping up
with the cultural conversation
I have not watched
that new show or
the latest season of that other show
I have not seen that movie
and I probably won’t ever see it
it’s not that I’m uninterested
I’m just busy
watching everything fall apart.


Pardon my language
but I don’t know
of another way to put it
I have been trying so hard
not to fuck around
and yet somehow
I still find myself
having to find out.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between December 10, 2022 and December 16, 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.


If you are trying to find
the perfect gift
for that special someone
consider giving them
a sizable supply
of high quality masks
for though it is not necessarily
the most exciting present
more than jewelry or socks
it is a gift that show
you truly care about them.


Sure, I could leave here
just put on my shoes
and walk away
turn off my lights
and lock my door behind me
I could do that
frankly, I would like to do that
but I told you
that I would be here with you
through the plague
and so here I am
beside you still.


When panic sets in
the supermarket and pharmacy
run out of toilet paper.

Which is how you can tell
that right now
no one is overly worried.

For if you check
the supermarket and pharmacy
have plenty of toilet paper.

Though for some reason
they have run out
of could and flu medicine.


I know you aren’t listening
least of all to me
but if I could impart
a simple word of advice
I would suggest
that perhaps you should refrain
from speaking of the pandemic
in the past tense, considering
that we currently find ourselves
at the start of yet another wave.


Relationship advice:

Find someone
who loves you enough
that you do not need
to beg them to wear a mask
during an ongoing pandemic.

Find someone
who loves themself enough
that you do not need
to beg them to wear a mask
during an ongoing pandemic.


It’s simple really
I cannot allow
the plague to take me
for I still have
far too many books to read.


I know it is tempting
to describe certain places
as feeling as though they are
a funeral
but all such a comment reveals
is that you are fortunate enough
not to have needed
to spend much of your time
attending actual funerals.


A note
to the friend who asked me:

Can’t you just
let the pandemic
go away?

I’m sorry,
but I can’t just
let the pandemic
go away
because the pandemic
has not yet
gone away.


I know that in the end
even my best efforts
may not be enough
to protect me from the plague
but I figure that at least that way
should I fall ill
I will not need to wonder
if I could have stayed safe
had I only been willing
to try a bit harder.


My friends keep sharing
strange images of themselves
unsettling quasi likenesses
in which they appear
as fairy princesses and cartoons
as superheroes and pop stars
portraits of blissful creatures
with unworried faces
who need not worry
about trying to survive the plague.


Here is a joke:

What does the current wave
have in common
with the previous wave
and the wave before it
and the wave before that one
and all the other waves thus far?

the current wave
just like all the previous ones
will be the last.


I am not doom-scrolling
I am bearing witness
to a plague.


An Alphabet for the Plague Times

is for alarmists
the alarmists warn.

is for bereaved
the bereaved mourn.

is for cough
a cough shakes.

is for denial
denial mistakes.

is for essential
the essential must work.

is for foresight
the foresight we shirk.

is for government
a government shrugs.

is for hospital
a hospital drugs.

is for incalculable
an incalculable loss.

is for justice
the justice we toss.

is for kit
a kit that can test.

is for life
life with the peste.

is for mask
a mask covers the face.

is for normal
normal unlike this place.

is for office
an office zooms.

is for pandemic
a pandemic dooms.

is for quarantine
a quarantine contains.

is for research
the research explains.

is for survivors
survivors endure.

is for tools
the tools reassure.

is for unity
our unity dissolves.

is for variant
a variant evolves.

is for witness
the witness observes.

is for x-axis
to the x-axis flatten the curves.

is for years
these years are distressing.

is for Zahl (Z”L)
may their memories be
for a blessing.



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-Fourth Week

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

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