Elegy for a Young Queer Writer
(For Mia and Anna)
Rana Zoe, I never knew you—East New Yorker
Rana Zoe. You, East New York—I never knew.
He said, “She had a panic attack.”
He said, “She had a panic attack”?
They fight for Rana Zoe.
for Rana Zoe. They fight.
Such hope when she opened her eyes.
Such hope, when she opened her eyes.
Rana Zoe died of COVID-19
of COVID 19… Rana Zoe died.
Rana Zoe Mungin, who had been clinging to life in the hospital for more than a month, died on Monday afternoon, April 27, 2020, after succumbing to COVID-19. She was a beloved 30-year-old middle school social studies teacher from Brooklyn who was twice turned away for testing before eventually being diagnosed with the virus. Rana Zoe…Say her name.
This poem, written by Michelle M. Tokarczyk, and shared with the world by The Skinny Poetry Journal, is dedicated to the Mungin family with unreserved love. Tokarczyk was born in the Bronx, New York City and lived there until she was nine years old, when her family moved to the more suburban Queens. She attended Herbert Lehman College — back in the Bronx — and received her doctorate in English from SUNY Stony Brook. Tokarczyk is a former professor of English at Goucher College. An avowed city dweller, she is the author of Bronx Migrations, a breakthrough collection of poetry on Cherry Castle Publishing.