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
The poet will protest:
billions is the sound of
outdoor concerts becoming killing fields
and classrooms becoming slaughterhouses.
Poets call those children and concertgoers
An accountant now concerned about the bottom line
will counter that “blood diamonds”