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

The year
is new
the plague
is old.

*

A mantra
for the start of the year:
I will spend less time
staring at screens
and more time
gazing at the sky,
I will help myself
and I will help others,
I will focus
on those I love
and I will tell them
that I love them,
and I will survive
and I will keep surviving
this plague.

*

I asked my friend
the rabbi
if there is a prayer to say
for the start of a plague year
and she replied
that yes there is a prayer to say
for the start of a plague year:
may this be the last year
that I need to begin with a prayer
specifically for
the start of a plague year.

*

This is the third year
that I begin
facing the plague
and saying to myself
I cannot survive
another year of this.

I cannot survive
another year of this.

I cannot survive
another year of this.

I cannot survive
another year of this.

I will try to survive
another year of this.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between December 31, 2022 and January 6, 2023.

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.

*

I know you will not listen
but nevertheless
a word of advice:
refrain from declaring 2023
to be the year
that the pandemic will end
for we all know how badly
such declarations turned out
when made about previous years.

*

In lieu of resolutions
my sister recommends
drawing up a list
on which you write down
what you would like less of
and what you would like more of
in the coming year
and in that spirit I will say
I would like less plague
and more solidarity
though I fear
I am hoping for too much.

*

I am tempted to say
that we will remember 2022
as the year
we surrendered to the plague
but if 2022 taught me anything
it is that we are terrible
at remembering the past.

*

It is common to start the year
with an aspirational purchase
some running shoes
an exciting cookbook
a set of watercolor paints
a purchase that symbolizes
your goals for the year ahead
which is why I started the year
by buying more masks
for my aspiration
is to survive the plague.

*

I confess
at the start of 2022
when I said I did not think
it would be the last year
of the pandemic
I had hoped to be wrong
god how I had hoped to be wrong.

*

My coworker jokes
that today is not
the fourth day of 2023
but the one thousand and
ninety-ninth day of 2020,
and though I chuckled
at his woebegone comment
I do hope he understands
that no matter how
we measure the days
the time the plague has stolen
will not be returned to us.

*

According to the legend
the hero Perseus
defeated the kraken
though dangerous and deadly
the beast was not triumphant,
yes, Perseus defeated the kraken,
but how many lives
did the kraken claim first?
and how many more foes
did Perseus have to face
before he could finally rest?

*

I have heard it said
that this new wave
won’t be that bad
won’t really be that bad
and though I would like
to find such comments comforting
that is difficult to do
considering these reassurances
are coming from those
who claimed that the previous wave
was the pandemic’s last.

*

I know
that you are very concerned
about the possibility
of panic
becoming widespread
but when I look around
I see little evidence
that panic is spreading
but plenty of evidence
that the virus is spreading.

*

Perhaps it is just me
but every time
I see the footage
whether as clips or live
of the chaos in the House
I find myself thinking:
how sad it is
for our country
that none of these people
are wearing masks.

*

It is a common misconception
that a frog will allow itself
to be boiled alive
no, the diminutive amphibian
is aware of the rising peril
and will try to hop away,
how unfair it is of us
to so slander the humble frog
when clearly it is we
who sit idly
until our fate is sealed.

*

When we pass each other
in the dairy aisle
the masked stranger and I
exchange wordless nods
as if we are both wearing
attire for the same sports team
and I suppose
that in some ways we are.

*

To the friend
who asked me
if all these words
are meant
as a view
from nowhere.

No, they are not meant
as a view
from nowhere
they are meant
as a view
from the plague times.

*

He is growing bored
of staying in so much
so he asks
if I would like to go out
on a date night
and I have to remind him
that we have talked about this
multiple times already
I’m simply not interested
in having a threesome
with him
and the plague.

*

They are not angry with you
for wearing a mask
they are angry with you
for reminding them
that the pandemic is not over.

*

My resolution for the year
is the same as it was
for 2022
and 2021
and 2020 before that:
survive this year of plague
and I am pleased to report
I have successfully stuck with
that resolution thus far
so now I have
only fifty-one more weeks to go.

*

*

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-Seventh Week

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

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