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I hadn’t thought of my dead lovers, gone for decades.
I took their ashes for granted until I woke today,
pleased they were already gone, safely buried
in this year of corpses, stacked in hospital hallways,
shoved into refrigerated trailers. They escaped this plague
with its befuddled, careless bystanders, its arrogant politicians.
The dear dead lie safe, in urns, under manicured cemetery lawns,
without CNN, with only heart-shaped deer tracks in the spring
mud above them. They set off and left us to weep and sing
and lower them into the yielding ground. They will not fear
for a next meal, or scramble for meat, for toilet paper.
It is we, the hoarders, who will kill for sport, if not for hunger,
and never ask which need we overdo in our compulsion
and fear, which lovely animals we carelessly used up.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is
the author of four books and five chapbooks. Her poems have appeared
Persimmon Tree, pacificREVIEW, and are forthcoming in Atlanta
and others. For more about her work, check her website at

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Previously published in
Eleventh Transmission:
"Desolate" by Shari Aber.

Published April 20, 2020

45 Poems of Protest: The Pandemic


by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
(Eureka Springs, Arkansas, USA)
45 Poems of Protest: "Pandemic" by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
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