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

I can acknowledge
that I panicked
during the first few days
of the pandemic
I stocked up on too much
toilet paper and hand sanitizer
bagged rice and dried beans
but that was years ago
and in the current days
of the pandemic
I am not panicked
I am just tired and frustrated.

*

We have now
been living with the virus
for long enough
that our nosier relatives
must be starting to wonder
what our intentions truly are,
will we settle down
and spend our lives together?
Or perhaps go our separate was?
Clearly, this isn’t a casual fling,
but what do we want?

*

According to those
who keep track of such things
today marks the anniversary
of the day that the plague claimed
its very first life,
now three years later
we sit beside 6.7 million graves
wondering how many more lives
the plague will take
before it finally ends.

*

By the time
a pandemic reaches
its fourth year
it is really quite evident
that the problem is not
that too many people
are panicking
but that too many people
are complacent.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between January 7, 2023 and January 13, 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.

*

When I was a child
I once loudly declared
much to my grandmother’s horror
that borscht
is the worst kind of soup
and while I admit
that I have not yet acquired
much of a taste for borscht
I will admit that I was wrong
the worst kind of soup
is this variant soup we’re eating.

*

When I dream
about life after the pandemic
it is the little things
I am most eager for
like putting together a syllabus
for an upcoming course
without having to include
a section on pandemic policies.

*

Even as a child
when I dreamt of the early decades
of the twenty-first century
I did not truly expect there to be
flying cars or jet packs
personal robots or space colonies
however in my youthful naïveté
I imagined there would be
institutions capable
of defeating a pandemic.

*

I try not
to be overly superstitious
or read dark portents
into banal coincidences
I have not seen
any skeletal riders
trotting through the streets
but it seems of late
that wherever I go
I am surrounded
by pale hoarse men.

*

We argue
about how to name
the latest variants
because doing so
is far less depressing
than learning the names
of the people
taken by those variants.

*

When I was a child
I wanted to be a magician
pull rabbits from hats
saw an assistant in half
make elephants disappear
alas I never mastered
so much as a sleight of hand
but nevertheless
for my next trick
I shall try
to survive this pandemic.

*

Zombie movies
get it all wrong
it is simply ridiculous to suggest
that a person would hide
their infection from the group
as the pandemic has taught us
in the case of a real outbreak
half the members of the group
would be proudly flaunting
their zombie bites.

*

When asked
who owned the patent
for his vaccine
Salk replied
“there is no patent”
and with a smile
and with a laugh asked
“could you patent the sun?”

And while it may be true
that no one
could patent the sun
it is worth remembering
there are always some
who are eager to try.

*

Betteridge’s law
states that any headline
ending with a question mark
can be answered
with a simple “no,”
and this law holds true
for the headlines asking
if the pandemic has ended,
if this is the last wave,
and if we have learned anything.

*

Too many unmasked coworkers
to eat inside
and it is just too cold
to eat outside
so I suppose
I won’t be eating lunch today
but it’s alright
I wasn’t particularly hungry.

*

I appreciate
that you are very concerned
about the possibility
that I might be planning
on wearing this mask
forever
but if you were only
a bit more concerned
about the pandemic
and a bit less concerned
with what is on my face
perhaps I would not need
to keep wearing this.

*

He writes to apologize
for missing earlier deadlines
and for missing this one too
he caught it again
this time it has left him
immersed in fog
and as I do not wan
to tax his limited energy
by making him read
a long supportive message
I simply reply:
take all the time you need.

*

My favorite band
has announced they’ll be
touring this summer
and because I am hopeful
I’ll feel comfortable
going to a crowded venue
by then
I buy tickets
and because I am doubtful
I’ll feel comfortable
going to a crowded venue
by then
I buy cancellation protection.

*

My new coworker
asks me what there is
to do around here
where to go eat
where to hear music
where to see plays
where to dance wildly
and though I try my best
to give recommendations
it has been several years
since I’ve really gone
to eat or hear music
or see plays or dance wildly.

*

Honestly
we were never
never really
all in this
together
but there was a time
when at least
more of us
were in this
together.

*

I know, my friend,
that there are days when you feel
as though the pandemic
has defeated us
but whenever I see you
my friend
my exhausted but enduring friend
I am reminded
that the pandemic
may have defeated us
but it has not defeated you.

*

*

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-Eighth Week

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

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