Thrushes, alert for opportunity,
sleep in winks of thirty seconds or less.
Has Guinness tracked the longest sigh on record
and was it exhaled in exasperation or ecstasy?
In the measure of apothecaries, one scruple
equals twenty grains, a lot of data to debunk.
Four centuries ago a watchmaker set up the first circus
of fleas tied to carts. Since then,
entertainment has changed a lot—explosions, all the rage.
Not long ago whistling in an office could get you fired,
and now who of us blinks at torture taken to the brink
of drowning, not once per body, but a vomitous number
I’m not going to hurt you with, and who asks how often
mouth-to-mouth—the torturer locking lips with the tortured
to revive him for another round. An alarm rings
to wake the thrush for the next
threat, thus serving the species for survival
of the fittest, while in the Situation Room, our best,
fit to kill, compute opportunity costs with the poise
of the guys whose billboards brag, “We buy ugly houses.”
Give me the scale that weighs a whistle, a flea,
the song of a thrush, the sum of pain caused
by people of conscience, people ignoring it.
Is opportunity tired of being missed?
Does it sigh the way we sigh?
Copyright © 2016 Barbara Ras. Used with permission of the author.