I cannot watch the news tonight: to have
the rags of pity stretched and torn across
the pixels of a stranger’s pain; to have
the ghost of empathy make rounds of over-
crowded wards, adjusting drips and checking
charts and moving on, ever moving on
to find fresh wounds and persecutions new;
to feel a passage-migrant empathy,
arbitrary, lost, alighting here and there,
never dwelling long, always moving on,
posing the unbearable moment and then … gone.
And what of opportunity cost, I ask,
when miseries and wrongs contend on air,
when this day’s outrage purges yesterday’s,
coverage moving on, ever moving on,
all lingering imaginings soon gone?
And to what purpose, disturbing the pain
on a world of woes? I do not know; except
To bear obligatory witness to the times,
salute a solidarity dilute –
a homeopathic tincture to assuage
The rage that youth still owes to age.