I Am Happy to Live in an Age of Plenty

There are more non-prescription painkillers now
than when most of us had jobs that were strenuous
or fatal. Our muscles tightened and frayed like ropes
that hoist pianos; our knuckles swelled and throbbed in time
with the weather, all against the acetaminophen tide.

And now we have more rounds of ammunition
than when most of us, for no better reason
than necessity, hunted for our meat, so many rounds
of ammunition, no meat can outrun the volume of lead
that we have loaded, cocked and aimed against its escape.

And there are far more children now than when we lived
in the desert and suffered from such loneliness we sang
our psalms to the empty sky for a little bit of company,
so many children born, filled with painkillers and meat,
there is now one child, they say, for every round of ammunition.

Paul Vermeersch

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