I take a half hour on the elliptical machine because
because numbers don’t lie.
It tells me how many steps I have taken, how many calories I have burned… in bright red..
And that drop of blood I take in the morning says that I ate too many cookies yesterday
And the scale tells me that grief is bad for the waist line…
And the time ticking by telling me that I need to leave right now.
I think about the metrics… the data
That will tell me that I am okay…
If only the scale read this–
Or the blood test would say that…
Or the idiot light on the dash board would turn off
And how many other numbers talk to us
In our ordinary world?
Like the little nisei girl in my mind
Sitting on that black and white curb
Her number on her coat…
There is something cosmic in her gaze
Working out the mathematics of a political geography that has just rejected her
At a specific date and time and place
That accident of history that pinned the number to your wool overcoat
And I know what that could look like
When the swing of the arm of history, and the creator of the universe
Sends you that message… and pins the number to you
That somewhere you have lost one of your numbers…
That his vital signs have all gone to zero…
This a year ago… his number was called, and he was taken by that great cosmic hand
And ushered forever into eternity.
And you work out the mathematics in your head
And in your heart, it fills with that data
And empties like a glass of tea
And the snow outside melting
As if to inform us of the numbers
That this is the real world… measured and taken
It is material… with mass and dimension and of time
And so I measure and count the steps in bright red
And measure my blood and the pressure
And weigh it, take in the time
Breathe in the mass of air, and exhale
My number is already pinned to me
And I wait for that bus to take me…
And the weight of the numbers
Will inform me
And tell me when things are okay.