HPN

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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 48

It Was of Many Parts

The pandemic came
and it was not of a single virus.
It came from creatures of the night
and was ignored until it shut down cities
and the cities too were the pandemic
and the people in them sheltered
in squalid television rooms
crazed by media violence
and their food chains were cut off
while their politicians blustered
and their black brothers were murdered
just like in those crazed tv dreams
paid for by corporations out of business
carried on the shoulders of essential workers
left without masks to face the deaths
that would overwhelm their hospitals—
all those doctors, nurses, grocers, busboys
delivering all the life and death they had
to those squalid tv rooms of media;
and this too was the pandemic
and no one knew that all were essential
and each and every one could be gunned down
one way or another in this great pandemic.
And so the people crowded together as one
but unable to talk as they were used to
and blinded by the blindfold of custom
too many ripped off their masks and marched
and became gravestones marching forward,
and this death too was of the pandemic.
And the corporations failed, and the workers
lost their jobs and their families and lives,
and the little shops on the corner were no more
than empty caves with shattered windows,
and the police marched with their badges
and the police union urged them to violence
and the NRA urged the militias to violence
and this too was of the pandemic that took us.
These were the three horsemen of the apocalypse
that came upon us in those first five months.
These were the first that came after we called
for them with our blind policies for years.
And then there were the marching dead
joining arms and marching as one, and
a gaunt grey horse starving at the corner
waiting for another rider to join in.



Jared Smith