Timer

You're told worry is for things you can  
      do something about; but take care 
to spend only a fixed amount of time—  
      no more, no less— in pockets of panic
and despair. It's almost hard to breathe, 
      watching the mob of white men draped 
in furs and flags of infamy stroll 
      away from scenes of destruction
without reprimand or repercussion. So you 
      try to focus on this small ritual 
of washing and cooking rice. Between
      scooping a cupful from out of the plastic 
box under the sink and pouring the grains 
      sacred to every ancestor into the pot,
when they hit the bottom, you try to listen for
      the brief aria that sounds like rain and not
shards of broken glass flying out of a door-
      frame. When you swish the water around 
with your fingers just as you were taught
      (to loosen any bits of pebble or chaff 
from this pool of pearled glistening), you
      remember how you fed your brown babies 
the sweet foamy boil that rose to the top. 
      How to think of the future? On the counter, 
a nugget of ginger and stalks of green chive
      wait for the broad knife's swift partitioning.
You make the last small cuts and wipe down every-
      thing. The timer chimes. The thing about 
revolutions is how they start from dreams 
      of the not yet seen. The thing about change 
is how the not yet seen are the first to get on 
      their knees and clean up the broken things.


  
  

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