Eric Greinke & Alison Stone, Emergency

Eric Greinke & Alison Stone

A siren blares down the highway,
hysterically red as raw meat.
I imagine the worst disasters,
twisted bodies in crumpled cars,
stray bullets near a playground,
families trapped and screaming
or their houses on fire.
Next I think of real people,
then I hope it isn’t them.

Sure, every victim is somebody’s
something, but horror happening
to strangers is bearable, not
even as real as small annoyances
like running out of potato chips
during your annual Superbowl Party.
Maybe that’s what it means to be
human, stuck in personal hungers,
ignoring or pretending to care
about everyone else,
one nation under fear
with justice for none.

Though we go through
the motions skillfully, and
even the siren’s volume
is less than the scream of greed,
we wish for the silent strength
to somehow be more than our
natures, to match the siren’s wail
with our authentic grief, to stand
alive and open in the red-tinged light.

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