"More than machinery, we need humanity."

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

Everybody loves
a good post-apocalyptic tale
for it reassures us
that though the present moment
may be quite bad
the future
could always be worse.


According to the news
many of the attendees
of a recent award show
have since tested positive
for the virus
how unfortunate it is that they
devoted so much time
to finding the perfect outfit
without bothering to consider
that they should probably
also wear a mask.


I read an article
in which a prominent man
declared that: “Close
to a half million
who would have
been working…
died from covid”
and while that number
is certainly disturbing
it is a comfort to know
that somebody is thinking
about what all of this means
for the economy.


When it began, I told myself
that I would write
these poems
these silly little poems
for the pandemic’s duration
but had I known then
that the pandemic would last
for this long
I would have picked
a set number of weeks
rather than the duration.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between January 14, 2023 and January 20, 2023.

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.


The students
who were freshmen
when the pandemic began
are now at the start
of their final semester
and though it is horrible
to have spent seven
out of eight semesters
with the plague
at least they got to enjoy
one blessed semester
prior to the pandemic.


They they are concerned
that we may be
the number of deaths
but if you listen carefully
to their words and tone
you will find that really
they would just like us
to stop counting altogether.


Be careful to distinguish
fiction and reality
do not allow yourself
to get worked up
by made up dangers
of apocalyptic television
you need not fear cordyceps
if you are going to let that show
frighten you
let it be for how accurately
it depicts our inability
to manage a pandemic.


When your closest friend
calls to tell you
that he
his pregnant wife
and his four-year-old son
have all come down
with the virus
(yet again)
it does not seem sufficient
to reply: “I’m so sorry,”
though it is hard to think
of what words
would possibly be sufficient.


We should worry
that they are undercounting
the number of deaths
over there.

But think nothing of it
if we are undercoutning
the number of deaths
over here
after all, we wouldn’t want
people to worry.


True love
is when your partner
puts on a mask
without you needing
to plead with them to wear one.


The maskless woman
seated directly behind me
has been coughing constantly
as I puck up my belongings
and relocate to another spot
she glares at me
and though I suppose
my decision to move
may seem somewhat impolite
I am not the one
trying to infect the whole room.


You should really try
not to breathe in cooking gas,
your kindergarten teacher
must have told you
that you shouldn’t sniff glue,
firefighters caution
against inhaling smoke,
but go ahead
and keep huffing the plague.


at an alpine resort
the wealthy and influential
are not taking chances
they have mandatory testing
and air filtration
UV germicidal irradiation lights
and they even wear masks
they are taking the steps
to protect themselves
but all you peons
had better get back to work.


We call ourselves
for that sounds so much better
than having to admit
that we have simply
resigned ourselves
to living with the virus.


We could attempt
to address the persistently high
number of deaths
by encouraging vaccination
reintroducing masking
cleaning the air
pushing for sick days
or simply acknowledging
that the virus
still poses a serious threat
but it is much easier
to just stop counting the dead.


I have heard it said
that the plague
does not suffer fools
but instead makes fools suffer
and though this may be
it is also the case
that the plague
makes the wise suffer
alongside the fools.


I told my employer
that they are once again
advising masking indoors
to which he asked
“who said that?”
so I replied
“WHO said that.”
so he repeated
“No, who said that?”
and so I reiterated
“Yes, WHO said that!”
for the plague you see
is who’s on first.


of identifying new variants
with simple letters
or naming them
after mythological beasts
each new variant
should simply be called
you do you
followed by a number.


I do not mean to be
and I recognize that I
do not really know you
all that well
but you can do better
you do not need to settle
you are intelligent and driven
you are talented and kind
really, I’m sure you can do better
than the plague.


Before the pandemic.

g             You

t                   are
e                somewhere

p                   in
n                      here

After the pandemic.



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-Ninth Week

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

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