Three Poems By James Reynolds

Blood Diamonds


When it comes to comprehending numbers,

don’t listen to the poets –

if they understood basic math,

they wouldn’t be poets.

Listen to the accountants, instead.


A poet will sing how

13 is an unlucky number

(no feat of the imagination there).

She may even pull out her license

and irrationally rhyme

how some numbers are unethical.


As if ethics applies to math and money.


An accountant will cogently observe

(that no matter what 13 may be)

it is not a big number.

17 is bigger - though still not big.

27, 32, 50, and 59 are big

but no bigger than a modest PR problem.


13 does not make a synagogue a concentration camp.


Especially when 13 is actually 12

because the killer was 1.


The accountant will clarify

that 12 is much smaller than

billions.


The poet will protest:

billions is the sound of

outdoor concerts becoming killing fields

and classrooms becoming slaughterhouses.

Poets call those children and concertgoers

blood diamonds.


An accountant now concerned about the bottom line

will counter that “blood diamonds”