There are seven billion people in the world.
Every second—every millisecond—thousands die
like drops of water rushing together
over a vast falls.
But on this particular day,
the old ladies gasping on mats in the corner of huts
or in hospices and hospitals, and the old men gazing at the ceiling
from their death beds, lived to see the sun rise once again.
Pedestrians walked safely down the sidewalks of the world,
and drunk drivers plowed into snow banks or hedges
instead of people or trees. Skiers also avoided trees,
and no boys hoping for paradise wrapped themselves in dynamite
to haunt the market places of Afghanistan or Syria
or Iraq. Mothers all over the world selected apples and coconuts,
mangos and pomegranates to take home on what seemed like a normal day.
But on this particular day, the epidemiologists
had a few more hours to unravel the secrets of Ebola, HIV/AIDS,
malaria. The little boy, alone in a sterile room in Liberia
could look through the plastic window at his mother for one more day.
No one noticed this miracle—the ICU nurse simply noticed
that all of her patients seemed to rally a little, and the hospice
volunteer went from bed to bed smiling into the quiet faces
of those who waited, some with hope, others—on this particular day—
with less resentment than usual.
City morgues caught up on their backlogs
because, as sometimes happens, there were no
murders on this particular day, and no kids falling out of windows
or into ponds or out of cribs, no Dads slipping on ice
or falling off ladders stringing lightsor clearing gutters. Firemen
ate lasagna and were grateful for an uneventful day.
Far away, in those places we send soldiers
but never go to ourselves, everyone seemed
to just sit down and smoke a cigarette, or a pipe,
or a hookah, and have a cup of coffee.
They all seemed to be waiting—waiting
for something all of them wanted.
On this particular day, everyone lived.