Numbers

We have a bad habit of replacing humans with numbers,

as quantities added and subtracted to meet

predicted patterns of lines and charts and arrows

What if we replaced the numbers with flowers

A football field worth of dandelions died today

Three dozen sunflowers

Enough bouquets to fill an entire room

What if I told you A forest was razed today

Enough petals fell today to be strewn from ocean to ocean

What if I told you that a day’s worth of breaths:

Inhales and exhales

Have died in the United States because of COVID19

Twelve million miles of airways in the lungs of eight thousand humans have stopped working by today

What if I told you that?

Would you feel more?


I am tired of seeing human lives fit along curves

I want if you zoomed in close enough to see faces

Like murals instead of graphs

Like heartbeats instead of trendlines

I wish I could handle the goddamn curve like saltwater taffy you get at the boardwalk

Stretched and sticky beneath my fingers

I want the math to be as dirty as the graves they’re digging

Like i want the math to be hard to bear

Hard to breathe through

I want new constellations for every funeral that won’t have any guests and will only ghosts

I want choruses that never stop singing because they have to sing the names of all who died and everyone they’re survived by

I want continents constructed as memorials

I want cosmic action

I want someone to light a candle

A field of candles

So many candles when the International Space Station spins over us

We are glowing

Like we lit a match from the inside out


I want to carve these memories in our sediment

See those lines there

Those lines in red velvet dirt

People died there

People stayed inside there

People lived there


What if we replaced numbers with people

And our hearts broke under their weight

For people are a lot heavier than numbers

They fill more space than ones and zeros

They hurt more

It is easy to compartmentalize

We do not want to be Atlas

With the world on our shoulders

Back crumbling under its weight

But I worry that our shoulders are too light

That Gravity hasn’t yet beared down on us yet

I don’t know when the worst will be behind us

How long Will we have to keep planting flowers,

Erecting continents,

Forming galaxies

When will the dying stop and the mourning start?

What does a global funeral look like

When human souls all hurt the same

At the same time

Will there be earthquakes

Because we feel things from the heart to the head to the foot



We have bad habit of replacing humans with numbers

because it’s hard to start a tally with faces

And for now, it’s okay

But when this is all over

I need your help to replace them back


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