Photo From The New York Public Library


Our Separate Ways


Now we are back in the elder woods with

our plague masks on, beaks sniffing out

sorrow, divining rods set to isopropyl. Water

is not clean enough, so we drink stale beer,

cultivate ergot in the barn. We hear the disease

can make you hallucinate, but it’s certainly witches.

Virus I am under your spell. Split my skull to let

the haunted breath out. Anyone can be possessed.

My brother comes over to smoke, and I don’t move the

pipe for 14 days. Coming home we leave our bodies

at the door. Flesh is not clean enough. Lock me up

with my cytokine storm. The lightning that forms

in our blood will raise cadavers from the earth.


Since We Went Inside


Slowly mermaids return to the

canals of Venice. The dragons

return to China. Yeti hawk their furs

in Kathmandu. Their American

cousins take back the hiking trails.

Big cats and serpents patrol the

streets. New York becomes a city of

gryphons. The gargoyles grow fat.

The Loch Ness Monster takes some

time to travel and becomes just,

“The Monster.” A sphinx drowses

in the sun and licks his paw.


Meantime the werewolves and

vampires conspire in secret. Their

primary food source won’t leave the

house. Resources are low. Blood

banks are depleted. The humans

stockpile guns and silver, while the

undead starve. These are dark

times to be creatures of the night,

everyone agrees. “It’s a real life

epidemic,” a nosferatu complains.


Y’mach Shmo – May His Name Be Erased


This year the plagues come early. Locusts.

Pestilence. The death of the first-born.

Pharoah shivers in his tomb. The museums close,

then the alleys. The seders have gone virtual.

Blood on the doorpost won’t save us this time.

The Angel of Death spreads slowly through the city,

touching everything. An employee coughs,

and we wipe his memory from the countertop.


Tonight we remember what it feels like to be hunted.

Contagion, y’mach shmo. We don’t need bitter herbs

to taste days like these. Who knows how long we’ll be

in this desert? We stock up on matzah because

it lasts. We have been here before. When the sea split,

we ran across its scar. Beloveds, there are still seven

plagues left. May we all be passed over. May we all

be passed over. May we all be passed over. Amen.



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