Despite Everything

A bureaucrat can still sit
at his desk,
ruffle papers,
look out the window,
take his coffee with cream
and two sugars.

He can even take
a walk in the park
at lunchtime,
relax on a bench,
feed pigeons.

Everything is numbers.
This many dead of that.
A figure for collateral damage.
A total for body bags.
Convert the adults
into algorithms.
Round the children
up or down
to the nearest thousand.

Everything is numbers…
and that includes everybody.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Chronogram and Clade Song. Read other articles by John.