#FlattenTheCurve: Isolating my self by Marge Piercy


I have cancelled my poetry
group: no feedback on work:
writing is in essence
a lonely life.

No readings to make poems
live in others’ minds. No library
to read others’ work. Now I
read what I never wanted to:

books sent for unlikely blurbs.
Toilet paper is rare as hope.
We buy canned, frozen goods
but we’re running out of space.

What will disappear next?
I have cancelled our Pesach
with friends—a lonely seder
with two and probably one

of our cats, who are very
happy we’re stuck here.
I can’t renew my driver’s
license; can’t have lunch

with friends, attend meetings:
in fact there’s aren’t any now
except on ZOOM. House:
a coffin enclosing me.

We were already vanishing
into our phones. This will
complete our transformation
into hermits of technology.



Published with permission of Marge Piercy

Article on Passover in the time of pandemic.

#FlattenTheCurve: Two Poems by Marge Piercy


How the plague came

We who every day poison
our water, our air, our bodies
thrust nuclear waste in her
veins, frak into earthquakes

drown the ocean and all life
with plastic and waste,
now wonder that earth herself
is angry. Consequences:

the oceans will roll up
our streets, whole streets
where houses are leveled
Tornadoes come in herds.

Our young need heroin
to endure the world
we’ve bequeathed them.
They vanish into phones.

But nothing sufficed
to stop us, so she called
on her tiniest children.
They rose to the task.

What we do now

I look at my schedule
for the month and it’s blank:
no readings, no travels,
and therefore, no money.

I have erased lunches,
dinners with friends, now
we just email or talk
awkwardly via phone.

No books from the library:
It’s shut. No buying any
thing not absolutely vital.
Stores are closed anyhow.

My hair grows shaggy. No
work on my back. I cook,
I clean, I mend what must
last, reread old books,

garden, play with cats
in the year of the plague.

blood-on-the-doorpost copy


Published with permission of Marge Piercy