“Zombies,” a Poem by Alissa Quart

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

December 1, 2023  By Alissa Quart


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.

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 executive director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She is the author of the poetry collections Thoughts and Prayers, which included this poem and Monetized as well as four nonfiction books, most recently Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America. She has also executive-produced or worked on numerous nonfiction projects about abortion including the Emmy-winning documentary Jackson, The Last Clinic, and Reconception. Her poems have been published in Granta and The Nation, among other publications, and her journalism has appeared in many publications, among them The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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