Driving down the freeway, remembering Hindu mythology —
Indra’s net, each intersecting weave holding a jewel reflecting
every other facet of every other jewel, infinitely. Suddenly I see
the hands that paint the white lines, that lay the black asphalt,
hands of a man joyous or lost soap-scrubbing his body clean
for dinner and beer, for the wife who loves him, hands that hold
tickets for London to see the grandmother, the hard-drinking
pub matron whose body bore children in building rubble
when the Nazi bombing relented — and if not for that war,
would I be driving now, hands on the wheel, listening to the radio
recount the birth of the child named Tsunami after the storm
that drove her mother into the hills, would the meager dollars
I send to rebuild a village — minted with the Rosicrucian eye
above the pyramid dreamed by this country’s founders
as the all-seeing vision of a world where not a sparrow falls
that we don’t know about — would I have known to send it,
if not for the hands that flew the kite that drew electricity
from the skies that made its way into the flat-screened box
that unveils this jewel-linked world twenty-four hours of every
gleaming day, weaving news with advertisements for clothes
made by hands in China nimbly sewing a dream of Hollywood
and iPod and offering their bodies one by one for a better future —
while the coal that fumes the electricity that plunges the needle
drifts in air that circles a globe that warms the ice caps that melt
into sea that shifts the current that loves the wind that swirls
from heaven to earth stirring one storm after another, blowing
its diaphanous passion over New Orleans like a trumpet sinking
the heart so low with blue notes that flood is a dark cure
for what burns — this illusion that anyone stands alone — stranded
on the roofs of our swollen houses mouthing save me to a world
whose millions of hands can turn up the volume loud enough
to finally hear, or flick with a single click the entire interconnected
vision of it all off.

This poem also appears in the Summer issue of Poetry Flash.

— Ed.