Two big numbers are in the news lately: we are hitting about 1.5 million vaccinations per day, and we passed 500K deaths early this past week. Poet Mark Fishbein honors both in this, our 39th poem.

Shot In The Arm

In the antiuniverse 
Help is on the way: immunoglobulin.   
Today they have injected some into my arm.
Now microscopically, and unknown to me,
An army of antibodies sharpen their teeth,
Angry barracudas hungry for a COVID snack
Y shaped savages in the electron microscope.

I feel that I have been marooned for a year;
A year lost when you are “elderly” is a year lost.
At last a rescue ship is seen, but with torn sails.

The daily numbers flow like a lottery, 
The graphs of the dying and the infected,
Corpses filling ice trucks in the parking lots,
The photographs of the family members 
Warning the world the COVID is real,
Eyes of the nurses, tears on their masks,
Names posted on the hospital walls   
Of loved ones who died alone. 

After a war, the wounded return home
And stay up nights to remember some carnage.
But we are still at war, despite I have a cure:
The state of alert and death surrounds us all.

Yet let us sanctify with silence.
My 98 year old mother among a half million gone. 
So many unwelcome deaths. Let us remember them,  
Not by hopes, not by prayers, but with a silence      
That the heart wears like a coat of wordless lament. 

Let us have a requiem in silence
For the dead and the dead to come. 

©Mark Fishbein – 2021


Mark Fishbein has been writing poetry for over 50 years, and he is also a classical and brazil style guitarist. He hosts two weekly Zoom writers workshops, POTF (Poets on the Fringe) and DC Poetry Workshops, which publish anthologies and give readings. He also hosts poetry readings on Eventbrite, the next being Feb 28, which include 20 poets using the share file on Zoom to display their poems while reading them, a unique way to engage in virtual poetry events. He has five books available on Amazon. For info- (workshops or events) or email


For the first 100 days of the Biden administration, this website will feature a new poem of What’s Next!? These pieces can be calls to action, calls to attention, or calls to anger. They will light the way and guide the fight. They will get us moving and keep our momentum. They will be filled with hope, with anger, with sorrow. They will get us into good trouble and point out the trouble we need to stop. They will be polished gems, or rough-cut drafts of rage, or in-process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered.

#100Days100Poems of What’s Next!? wants your poems, your prose, your visual art (photos, drawings, sculptures), your music, your short films and animations. Interpret the theme as broadly as you’d like.

If you would like to submit to this endeavor, please send an email, with your visual art (as .jpg or .pdf) or your poem saved as a word document (.docx) to waxyandpoetic AT gmail DOT com. Include a short bio (2-3 sentences) and social media/website information. All rights remain with the author. Please address any formatting preferences in your email. will post submissions time permitting, with at least one per day beginning 20 January 2021.

Read, follow, share, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !

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