By The Numbers

On the screen the host pontificates that
as many lives that were lost in the Iraq war
the number is actually smaller than in past wars
suggesting somehow long dead revolutionaries
are any consolation at all to those that live
with loss,
his face fades into the corresponding graph
the colored bars
scarier than any of Bosch’s hells
for the painter just missed the truth
dreaming of reality and passing it off as the screaming afterlife,
but these lines on the screen
paint the door
that backs us to the meta-world
where five inches below
a chart of mobile phone use in Iraq
is a chart of civilian deaths

and nowhere in his presentation
is Jose, whose wounds would have killed him just one generation ago,
who returns 7,600 miles to El Segundo
to find the four steps leading to his door
hereafter insurmountable.
And how do these numbers contain
the guardsman
who died in a war over zero Weapons of Mass Destruction
and leaves behind a two year old daughter he only really knew in pictures
who will live her long life fatherless
with countless chances to ask what might have been?

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