“Plague Poem”

A Poem by Katha Pollitt

June 8, 2020  By Katha Pollitt

Perhaps it is best that we go away now
bundle up our tyrants, lies and balloons, our screams,

long nights in front of TV with a beer and takeout,
furtive ecstasies in hotel closets.

We could just leave quietly
the ghosts of our fathers
striding through the mists in their clanking armor,
babbling about justice and the glorious future.
The swans and dolphins will not try to restrain us.

A poet should praise the world.
Good luck with that!
I’ve stopped following the news.

Perhaps when we are gone
The mythological animals—
dragons and griffins, the beautiful lonely phoenix—
will come out of hiding
and loll on the empty benches

in the park that shimmers feverishly
below my window.


Excerpted from Together in a Sudden Strangeness, published by Alfred A Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher

Katha Pollitt
Katha Pollitt
Katha Pollitt is a poet, essayist and columnist for The Nation. She is the author of seven books, most recently Pro:Reclaiming Abortion Rights, which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her most recent book of poetry is The Mind-Body Problem. Her writing has won many prizes and her poems appear in many anthologies, including The Oxford Book of American Poetry. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat.

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