Two Poems

By Richard LeDue

They Didn’t Release Her Name

A ninety year old died the other day.
Part of the pandemic
like these words are pieces of this poem.
Endings have always stifled me,
yet here I am, ink stained hand,
trying to commemorate someone
I never met, while bars are open,
serving cheap, cold beer to those
who aren’t as afraid as me.
Car payments more important than sore throats,
the mass graves forgotten as leaves
change colours early,
tricking us into believing death can be pretty.

Learning to Live With It

Two people dead, but no press conference
that day. A meat plant
unwilling to close
as workers without sick days
test positive. Millions of dollars
for football, while laying off
people with families, mortgages,
dogs that piss on rugs.
Voters who probably regret their choice,
and some feel vindicated
from printing an “X” next to the wrong name-
nothing seems that different to me,
except now we argue about the politics
of wearing masks.

Richard LeDue currently lives in Norway House, Manitoba. His poems have appeared in various publications throughout 2019, and more work is forthcoming throughout 2020, including a chapbook from Kelsey Books.

I actually went through a phase during the spring lockdown when I wrote a lot of poems about the pandemic. I wrote so many that I actually made a conscious effort to write about other subjects during the summer. These poems represent a return to writing about the pandemic, and represent some of my dissatisfaction with how people and some governments have handled the situation so far. My poems also reflect my fear of the politicization of the pandemic.

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1 year ago

I really like the way both these poems make the political intensely personal. Both made me think and reflect on how difficult this year has been for everyone.

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