Here's how we were counted:
the nearly defined dead,
all the disenfranchised live.
Once everybody had a place
among the nameless. Now we
can't afford to be anonymous.
Consider, they said, the poor,
the misfit—consider the woman
figuring herself per cent.
Consider the P.A. system making
a point so intimate I petition
not to be anybody's good guess
or estimate. I ask to be one:
maybe widow-to-be watching the sun
diminish brick by brick along the jail
wall and also that green pear
on its drunken roll out
of the executioner's lunch basket.
At 12:01, 02, in the cocked chamber
of the digital clock
the newsman said: There'll be less
work in the new century. And my job
will be, as usual, forgetting—
or getting it backwards—
each non-integer, tender and separate,
fake rosebud, Rolodex, cab full of amputees
obedient to traffic, moss on the baby's headstone . . .
minus and minus' shock each minute,
the kiss, its loss,
each newborn and condemned-to-be
in one breath executed, and blessed.