Blood Diamonds

   When it comes to comprehending numbers,
   don't listen to the poets -
   if they understood basic math,
   they wouldn't be poets.
   Listen to the accountants, instead.

   A poet will sing how 
   13 is an unlucky number
   (no feat of the imagination there).
   She may even pull out her license
   and irrationally rhyme 
   how some numbers are unethical.

   As if ethics applies to math and money.

   An accountant will cogently observe
   that no matter what 13 may be
   it is not a big number.
   17 is bigger - though still not big.
   27, 32, 50, and 59 are big
   but no bigger than a modest PR problem.

   13 does not make a synagogue a concentration camp.

   Especially when 13 is actually 12
   because the killer was 1.

   The accountant will clarify 
   that 12 is much smaller than
   billions.

   The poet will protest:
   billions is the sound of 
   outdoor concerts becoming killing fields
   and classrooms becoming slaughterhouses.
   Poets call those children and concertgoers
   blood diamonds.

   An accountant now concerned about the bottom line
   will counter that "blood diamonds" is
   a misleading and malicious metaphor
   manufactured by malcontent poets
   to cynically incite the sympathies of simpletons.

   There hasn't been a market for blood diamonds in years.

   So children and concertgoers are not blood diamonds.
   They aren't even innocent bystanders - 
   because they were terrified,
   when the shooting started,
   and tried to run away.

   If you must name them,
   the accountant will conclude that 
   the children and concertgoers were
   coal ash or feathers
   or other unavoidable byproducts
   of businesses worth billions.

   What, the accountant would like to know,
   is a poem worth?

   Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief

   First published in The Broadkill Review

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