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

What sets this winter apart
from last winter
and the one before that
is that this winter
we really cannot pretend
that we haven’t been warned.

*

The newspaper of record
has decided to remove
the plague’s toll
from its homepage
for the paper understands
that we have passed the point
of the incalculable loss
we are now truly in the era
of the loss we try not to calculate.

*

Of course
a person can be concerned
about many things at once
but I wish, my friend,
that you were as concerned
about what the plague
is doing to all of us
as you are with what
one wealthy child
is doing to a web platform.

*

During the first winter
of the pandemic
I could not imagine that it would be
the first of many
and try as I might to remain hopeful
try as I might to do my part
at this point I cannot imagine
that this will be
the last winter of the pandemic.

*

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

*

My goal for the year
was a relatively modest one
all that really mattered to me
at the year’s start
was to make it
to the year’s end
and though I am so close
to achieving that goal
I am mindful of the fact
that I have not achieved it yet.

*

Seated at the row of desks
in front of me
a maskless young researcher
coughs and coughs
into the medieval manuscript
in the book cradle before him
with every one of his coughs
I glance down
at the archival documents before me
and will myself
to study history faster.

*

She is growing frustrated with me
every day she asks
what I want for the holidays
and every day I respond
that I am still thinking
it’s not that I don’t know
what it is that I want
but it feels odd to say
that what I really want most
is for her
to go back to wearing a mask.

*

At night, strange things happen
in this old house
lights I know I turned off
are somehow turned on
steps creak and doors slam
groans and sighs and whimpers
can be heard at odd hours
it would be comforting
to blame it all on a ghost
but I know
it’s just me haunting this place.

*

Thank you for the invitation
to your holiday party
but I am afraid I cannot attend.
You know how horrible it is
to run into an ex
you’ve been carefully avoiding?
Well, I know he’ll be
attending your holiday party
and I’m really trying
not to get back together
with the plague.

*

The danger
of the term tridemic
is that it may give
those ho hear it
the mistakee impression
that we are still trying.

*

I read an article
in which the writer observed
that we do not yet have
“the pandemic novel
to silence
all other pandemic novels”
and while that writer
is not incorrect
it is hard to write
the definitive account of a crisis
while it is still unfolding.

*

The weather outside
is not particularly frightful
and I have no fire
that could be called delightful
there are so many places
I would love to go
my concern is with the virus
not the snow.

*

Believe me
I want to attend the holiday party
and join you at the bar
I want to eat at the new restaurant
and sit in a movie theater again
please do not interpret
my reticence as disinterest
it is just that of all the things
I want
what I desire most
is to avoid the plague.

*

My downstairs neighbor calls
asking if I am available
to watch his cat
while he is away
I inquire if he is off
traveling for the holidays
and he replies that no
he isn’t traveling for the holidays
instead he’s in the hospital
and I tell him that yes
I can watch his cat.

*

You can call me old-fashioned
but I preferred the days
when “soup season”
was just another way
of describing cold weather
as opposed to now
when “soup season”
refers to just how many
variants of the virus
we are currently stewing in.

*

I have been told
that the elastic ear loops
on this mask
push down on my ears
making them stick out
so that I look like an elf
but the comparison
does not really bother me
for I have read
that elves live for a long time
and that is exactly
why I am still wearing this mask.

*

Just in time for the holiday
my government
has sent me a present
a box of several test kits
and though I do not want
to seem ungrateful for this gift
I will admit
when I had said for the holiday
I wanted them to do something
about the pandemic
I had hoped for more than this.

*

I try my best
not to read into things
or project meaning
onto regular seasonal occurrences
but I cannot help but feel
as though the weather
is telling us
that we should cancel
this year’s holiday gatherings.

*

When I am asked
if I have plans
for the coming holidays
I reply that I will be
upholding family traditions
and if I am asked for details
regarding the specifics
of those traditions
I explain that in my family
we have a tradition
of trying not to spread the virus.

*

You already know
that when you speak they will ask
what you accomplished this year,
be it professionally or personally
they will expect an answer,
and though it may feel insufficient
to reply that you survived
another year of the plague
just know
that is accomplishment enough.

*

*

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-Fifth Week

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

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