“Zombies,” a Poem by Alissa Quart

“When I don’t report on others / I report on myself.”

December 1, 2023  By Alissa Quart


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Sex humblebrags involving
gardening: a neighbor’s
homegrown cukes huge
with thick rinds
left on my doorstep. Other
nature brags? Measuring
time in rocks, stone
rings, sediment, igneous;
eating your own
calendula & cornflowers
outside, as it gets dark.

When I don’t report on
others I report on myself.
That’s poetry.
I discover: all child-
hood is uncorrected
loneliness, epigenetic
anxiety, melancholia of
class. The directions are
to experience &
mourn, all at once.
On TV, this verity
represented by
zombies marching,
hidden in a barn.

Killing off secondary
characters with no notice
makes a work more minor.

Offing central characters
might make your work major.

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See the loop of the
zombies, circling round.

If you are not going for
ecstatic experience
maybe you are
the Walking Dead.
Why there are ten
seasons of shows
and only four in Nature.

Featured photo by Taber Fisher.

Alissa Quart
Alissa Quart
Alissa Quart is the author of five acclaimed books of nonfiction including Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream (Ecco, 2023, out now in paperback). They Are Squeezed, Republic of Outsiders, Hothouse Kids, and Branded. She is the Executive Director of the non-profit the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She is also the author of two books of poetry Thoughts and Prayers and Monetized. She has written for many publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and TIME. Her honors include an Emmy, an SPJ award and a Nieman fellowship. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.

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