Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

Seven Billion Divided by One — Sharon Rose

No más canto,
porque lo siento,
tu no cantas conmigo
este tiempo.

Heartless, he strangled the thought between his lips,
as if breathless words wouldn’t be heard
and somehow justify his aging response
to ever-youthful pain: fresh and new and pining
for that one thing, that one gene, that one, one, one.

But only one? What of two,
of division? What of the way
our calculations rip the equation
to falsify the sum of this multiplication:
seven billion souls humming
like a bird on little wings, beating
too fast to be seen, with long beaks,
distended tongues, dipping into nectar
to feed the need to fill the hole
with sweet release and ovum the size
of pindrops? The echoes fill ears
like the heartless whisper he thinks
he’s sung to breezeless masses.

No one ever head except the hollow
of their heads: cavernous expanses
filling cavernous voids, the pitch
and shudder of each slight wind
as it whips around the walls, erodes
dripping calcite which falls
in millennia like slow icicles and teeth,
biting the bottom, tripping up
to the top on a non-stop path to fill it up,
erase the acoustics of this place,
so sound can’t bounce around so clearly,
so distinct so little less than unique.

He’s humming what we hummed; we’re heartless,
save for tiny beats which trip in triple time, fed
on unprocessed honey with pollen stuck
to every orifice and spread to the next flower
so we all sneeze in unison the next time.

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