Counting

.".. the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns."
                   ~ Adam Zagajewski, "Try to Praise the Mutilated World"


It's said poets aren't very good
with numbers or with anything 
that equates to what's considered 
real in this world. And yet, in poems, 
how long have we been counting days, 
months, body bags; children in cages, 
missing parents, boats capsized 
in the foam under a canopy of
uncountable stars.? We can't stop 
trying to count even as  animals 
become extinct, even as we can't
save plants from wildfire and
the tidal heat. But more 
than count them, we name 
them: as if naming itself is practice 
for mourning. We count the dead; 
we name our dead. We the living
bring flowers and candles to the places
where they were gunned down, taken, 
or never returned.  We the living
remind ourselves to go on living
by enfolding ourselves in their
stories; by wrapping the silk 
cord of each day's beginning 
and end around our wrists,
around theirs.

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