What if you don't know?
What if it's sunny outside,
or you are forced to make small talk
about the weather - mild, grey,
cold, warm? Whatever!
What if you can't check your tears
as you keep your downcast gaze
upon the goods you scan
until it's time to take a payment
and you raise your doll-glass eyes -
apologize as he asks you -
'Why so glum?' It's nothing.
But it's something.
It's everything and all of them back home.
Communications cut, the power lines
knitted spaghetti nets of cables
tangled amongst the rubble, the roofs of houses,
sticks and stones, the broken bones of ghosted homes.
In your mind, you're watching people
stepping barefoot through the shrapnel of their lives.
Your mind is wandering through a junkyard city,
past the bloated corpses - unidentified,
just numbers cranking up the death toll
as it rises.
You scan the streets for their dear faces,
praying they were evacuated
to higher ground in time. Praying
But what if last week, you were laughing,
complaining about the weather,
and what if they've been counted?
The customer, impatient - asks you,
'What's the damage?'
You answer without thinking -
'Ten thousand, maybe more...'