Writing the Apocalypse: Imprints

Writing the Apocalypse is a weekly series featuring the poems, essays, and recollections of

Puma Perl, with subject matter influenced by her experiences

as a NYC resident during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kitchen Countertop.


One year ago,

I believed in bleach

but was unsure about masks

and said if I had masks

I’d give them to health care workers

because of the PPE shortage

Nurses going to work with bandanas,

reusing paper coverings until they shredded


You couldn’t find wipes in stores

so I made hand sanitizer at home

Diva ran up and down the block

delivering small items like Lassie

because my daughter was afraid

to go within six feet of me


Today is National Puppy Day,

lots of pictures of Diva on social media

I don’t mind looking at them

They make me happy


One year has passed

and yesterday’s conversations

were about concert tickets,

keyboards, and paw prints

In January we obsessed

about vaccine appointments

In February it was the second shot,

dental problems, losing Diva

March brings more gun violence,

racially motivated attacks,

bombings, economic insecurity,

taxes and maybe a stimulus check,

laughably insufficient


People still get sick,

people still die,

long-term effects still unknown



Despite the lingering darkness,

there’s a ray of light

hiding in the corner,

strong enough for us

to discuss a memorial concert

and a keyboard stand


Somehow, it is April

Vaccine eligibility expands

Everybody talking

about their shoulders

or their arms

and what did you get?

Moderna and Pfizer

become part of every day


and, because it’s April

National Poetry Month

comes around

without fanfare or muMs

or Algarín,

so many laughs and words

never to be heard

alive again


And I still believe

these poems

are just a place

to put my stuff,

a mental hard drive

filled with nonsense,

but if I don’t do anything

then there’s nothing

that I did.


© puma perl, 04/01/2o21


Puma Perl is a poet and writer, with five solo collections in print. The most recent is Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books, 2019.) She is the producer/creator of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band Puma Perl and Friends. She’s received three New York Press Association awards in recognition of her journalism, and is the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing. Her most recent books can be found by clicking here.

Diva the Pack Dog.


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