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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 4: July 2020
Haibun: 204 words
By Margaret Dornaus


Thus this month ends with great sadness upon the publick, through the greatness of the plague every where through the kingdom almost. Every day sadder and sadder news of its encrease. In the City died this week 7,496 and of them 6,102 of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of the dead, this week is near 10,000....

—Samuel Pepys (August 31, 1665)*

April 3, 2020

When I wake, I wonder what I can do to mark this day. To offer some sliver of hope or kindness or joy in this upside-down-inside-out-coronavirus-world. To make it better. To make sense of it all. This morning’s news is worse than yesterday’s. I swallow it like a bitter pill with my coffee. Rising death tolls. Makeshift morgues and tent-city hospitals popping up like toadstools along New York’s Park Avenue. Shortages of life-saving equipment—gowns, masks, ventilators—everywhere.

Outside my window forest birds lift their spring voices as a televised doctor on the front line of the pandemic bravely chokes back his tears. I don’t hold back. I cry for him. For us all. It’s the least I can do. To mark the day. I don’t hold back.

muscle memory this thing called love



*Publisher’s Note:

Epigraph is from The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Complete, 1893 edition), the full text of which is available online via Project Gutenberg.

See also Phil Gyford’s nicely done blog, The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Daily entries from the 17th century London diary.

Margaret Dornaus
Issue 4, July 2020

holds an MFA in the translation of poetry from the University of Arkansas. Her first book of poetry, Prayer for the Dead: Collected Haibun & Tanka Prose, received a 2017 Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America. Her food and travel articles and her poems appear in national and international anthologies and journals, including publications specializing in Japanese short-form poetry such as: Contemporary Haibun Online; Haibun Today; Journeys 2015: An Anthology of International Haibun; The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku (2012-2013); and The Red River Book of Haibun. Additional work is included in Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems (Dos Gatos), Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This Way (Village Press), Red Earth Review, and The Texas Poetry Calendar.

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