With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Dedicated to e-mails from Save Darfur, War Child, Africa Action, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Free the Slaves, AIDS Action, and Doctors Without Borders.
How quietly they land,
bits of global sorrow accumulating like snowfall
as I teach a class, attend a meeting,
make a cup of tea.
What if early man wasn’t designed
for this downpour of international horrors?
Or maybe human evolution slogs through any weather,
the nimble psyche adapting,
the violence at first like lightning to the brain,
then a stinging blizzard, and now a light rain,
the damp, guilty silence left behind as we move nimbly
from Haiti to Google, Facebook to Sudan.
Shouldn’t we bless them,
the messages that flash in the Times Square of our brains
amid the rapid multitasking?
Perhaps later they will call to us,
rising up at dusk from the back pools of the mind,
hinting at some forgotten part of us, raw and ragged,
when horror still stuck
fresh as weeds to the skin.