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Week 7 “This pandemic brought…”

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Poems written by Untold Stories poets in response to the prompt “This pandemic brought…” from the untitled poem, posted on Instagram, by Charlene Carruthers.


- Irene Inatty

My trickster, my opportunist, my darkness, my hungry animal

The flecks of the abyss that live in me. (I love this person).

They are feral and fearless.

They know

all the things that worry me are useless

and made up and

all they want to do is set fire to those kinds of things and to writhe

in the embers of a dying world.

They have been waiting for this. All my life. I was made for the apocalypse.

So when I figured out what was happening I called them.

I laughed and I danced and I thought of fire

as I shaved my head ready to burn the fear off my old dying skin.

And then I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see them. I just saw fear.

I was so ready to become lightning and storm

y azotar mi vida con los vientos de mi huracan preferido.

To burn. to burn. As if the fear that had clawed into me

since before I was born would burn off like clothing atop my skin.

As if it weren’t part of the skin itself,

no matter how much I didn’t want it to be.

How could I, who have been waiting for this moment all my life,

be so paralyzed by its arrival?

Perhaps because forgot

The language of possibility: nonsense.

When we unmoor words from meaning

and we are left floating in the ocean of not knowing,

untethered and sure that a great beast will snatch us into the deep,

keenly aware of the yawn of the earth miles below us,

we have the chance, in the face of all that metallic-tasting fear

to relax our muscles

and feel the oldest pull from the deepest trench

calling us to stop pretending

that we’re not part of its mantle

Calling us to join it once more.

I want to run into the warm salty surf

when it is wild and feisty in the dark of night during a full moon

and swirl along with the current well under the waves

until I can’t even tell where up is,

and let my body go,

letting the water do with me what it will

until I burst through the surface tension,

and gasping, laughing, moonlight blinding me

I want to remember I am not the same

and the world is not the same and

I don’t want it to be.

I will try to speak in the tongues of nonsense,

trying to say the unsayable

until a new alphabet is born in my mouth.

And my comrades will hear me and not catch my words

but they will know what I am saying

because what I am saying is also in their hearts.

And we will be in awe of this and fear it.

Maybe fear is the key ingredient in courage. And we need courage.


You’re Here

- Julie Quiroz

The virus brought my daughter home

lugging overstuffed suitcases

to my front porch

Not touching

I step out

letting her pass

as I clean her things

with poison

Inside she walks

a straight line

to the shower

plastic bag in hand

for clothes she wore

on an almost empty plane

That day we still believed

that time moves forward

a subway car racing

from point A to point B

But time melts

into tide pools

when death hovers

in the air

Once upon a time

I held you

in my lap

watching those towers fall

before my eyes

You were born

at the end of a story

we must now untell

Harvest the weeds

my love

we will make tea


Whispers Travel Best Through Silence

- Desiraé Simmons

I miss waking up with a quiet mind Even as I write that, I try to remember It was longer than this era in which we find A pandemic- started in December or November This pandemic brought me heightened senses A sense of silence that I never knew In the middle of the street as if behind fences Losing my voice. Shedding tears. More than a few A sense of touch that instantly connects me To the fear, the pain, the confusion, the anger We have all felt, and finally others see The need for a woven web that protects us from danger A sense of vision that awakens my imagination No longer do I feel bound to the here and now Just like coronavirus spread across all these nations I can see further and deeper to the seeds we need to sow A sense of my body, a sense of myself A sense of time, a sense of love I breathe in fresh(er) air in relief I hear wisdom whispered from the clouds above While I sleep soundly, I awake already on the move



- Erika Murcia


has taught me to slowdown

I am sitting in stillness


has brought out to the surface

who I am when feeling pain

has unveiled the wounds of emotional loss

it has ripped out the shelter

we've built during a decade


has pushed me in a dramatic way

to listen every core emotion as they come

and deepen my understanding of

what is happening within


has allowed me to let the tears crashed like waves at the ocean shores

while reaching out to my collectives

asking for support

giving and receiving are essentials for survival


has been like a muse

who calls me to recognize

what a miraculous being I am


has become an opportunity to unleash my creative power

at the same time that I hold space for a heartbreak

we are impermanent beings

in this spiral of change

it is a beautiful reminder

that self-love is a radical practice

necessary to love others unconditionally even when they are at their lowest



- Leseliey Welch Church bells ring Inviting Scorched earth, grief grounds To sprout dreams Inside elders In ruby red church hats Hold white handkerchiefs and weeping women To centuries-wise bosoms and sway From side to side By and by One hand held high to signify The possible Church bells ring Serenading Scorched earth, grief grounds To sprout dreams The cardinal flies low Radiant red messiah I am with you By and by Guiding Reach deep and reach high Tomorrow is yours To grow The weeping women sway From side to side By and by They lift their hands too One by one Testifying It is possible To bloom

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