Photography © Lauren Shear


Pandemic Protest: May and June 2020

In spite of perils and escalations —
rampant Cases; Patients dying —
numbers spiking in most Nations,
we hear the crazy voices lying.
“Reopen!” their manic bid,
“and live like no tomorrow!
Keep the worst statistics hid.
Suppress all breath of sorrow!”

For the greediest to win,
gates of cities fling aside;
people charge outdoors again
like a maskless fevered tide . . .
Abandoning their sense,
freeing caution to the breeze,
as we gape in cold suspense
at the spreading of disease.

Then, as if by wicked plan
there repeats a well-worn bane
with the killing of a Black Man
by a White Guy’s bold disdain.
Yet it isn’t one, the names abound,
slain by Cops and ruthless Killers;
on streets or tree branch found
the brutal crimes of fear-instillers.

Grim parallels to horrors past,
an unrelenting stream of years.
Cries for Justice, Reform at last
during weeks of Protest and tears.
The present firestorm unduly lit
at the heart of a viral scourge,
endangering some of the hardest hit;
provoking a bond to forge . . .

Marching as the Human Race,
united more than ever
to fight Oppression’s harmful trace
as perhaps the world has never.
Declaring in a single voice
Black Lives Matter.
Making a courageous choice
to join instead of scatter.

So obvious and true a notion . . .
how did it come to this?
Basic as the tides and ocean,
this wave has been remiss.
There is no other side to take
for the color of our skin.
What difference does it make
which body we live in?

I hope for light, I hope for health
throughout the planet at this hour.
I wish for all of us the wealth
to survive with people-power
against the height of epidemic.
We are stronger as a whole,
and much kinder than systemic,
without a lethal rising toll.

It is time to stop and think.
Time for all to quit denying,
raise the blinds and see the truth,
too many have been dying!
Houston, we’ve got a problem —
and it’s right back here on Earth
till Society accepts that
each life, each heart has worth.


Even now a glimpse of beauty —
a chance to better understand.
Respect is a common duty,
to give without demand . . .
This is History’s path unfolding
toward a Future none have known.
Generations we were molding
may repeat what they’ve been shown.
Generations we are holding
will inherit how we’ve grown.


Lori R. Lopez is an author, poet, illustrator, and wearer of hats who inhabits Southern California with three opinionated cats and two talented sons. Verse has appeared in The Sirens Call, The Horror Zine, four H.W.A. Poetry Showcases, Weirdbook, Altered Reality Magazine, Bewildering Stories, California Screamin’ (the Foreword Poem) and more. Books include The Dark Mister Snark, Leery Lane, An Ill Wind Blows, The Witchhunt, three volumes of her Poetic Reflections Series, and Darkverse: The Shadow Hours.

Lauren Shear is a museum professional, public historian, and lifelong resident of Massachusetts. She has been working with activist groups since college and has been seeking ways to support communities under attack ever since.