“Elegy for a Young Queer Writer” by Michelle M. Tokarczyk

Elegy for a Young Queer Writer

(For Mia and Anna) 

Rana Zoe, I never knew you—East New Yorker
30
writer
teacher
Afrolatina
30
Afrovictim
COVID
age
30
Rana Zoe. You, East New York—I never knew.

He said, “She had a panic attack.”
Denied
testing
twice.
Symptoms
denied.
Finally–
breathless–
hospitalization.
Denial.
He said, “She had a panic attack”?

They fight for Rana Zoe.
Connect
ventilator.
Contact
media.
Connect
race
gender
$$$$$$.
Connect
for Rana Zoe. They fight.

Such hope when she opened her eyes.
Cried.
Shed
weeks’
unconsciousness.
Cried—
students
stories
abandoned.
Cried.
Such hope, when she opened her eyes.

Rana Zoe died of COVID-19
complications.
Wrong
zip
code.
Complications.
Black
woman’s
body.
Complications
of COVID 19… Rana Zoe died.

Michelle M. Tokarczyk
6/04/2020

________________________

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.

 

Photo by Paul Groncki © 2020

Posted on November 25, 2020, in Black Lives Matter, Pandemic Poems. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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