Pandemics by Tobias Maxwell

Dying in a pandemic,
Let me count the ways:
The solitude inside our cocoons
Softens but never loses its edges.
No human contact robs us of our humanity.
The fears of disease buzzes in our heads
As we stare at death a thousand times a day.
Fear of breathing,
Fear of someone’s particulate,
(You never knew to fear!)
Fear of the unknown, the knowable,
The endless lists of do’s and don'ts,
The smell of hand-sanitizer that dries out skin,
Rushing to collect groceries in stores with half-empty shelves,
Admiring all those brave souls working to feed you,
Partially hidden behind a multitude of face masks and shields.
And then there are those sick and dying,
Those already dead and gone. The lingering sorrow
From the havoc of Covid-19. One year down,
How many  more to go before normalcy returns?
Before the rhythms of daily life bring back life…to some,
Before the bells toll and remembrance begins,
Before the history books are written
Of this year of Our Lord 2020,
When we’ll visit cemeteries to commemorate
The hideous loss of life that pandemics bring.
Photo by Anna Shvets on

About the Poet:

Tobias Maxwell is the author of three novels, The Month After SeptemberThomas, and The Sex and Dope Show Saga; a novella, And Baby Makes Two; three memoirs, 1973—Early Applause, 1977—The Year of Leaving Monsieur, and 1983—The Unknown Season; as well as a poetry collection, Homogium

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