Processing the News

      by Naomi Beth Wakan

She sat in her half acre
and received news on the radio
that a never-before-played
trio by Enesco had been found.
And on TV she heard that
a dictator was about to overturn
another dictator and send
his Evil Empire packing.
Whose evil empire was not
quite clear and so the reverse
seemed as plausible to her.
Her e-mail commanded her to sign
petitions to stop the dictators
doing whatever they were doing,
to rally against bullying in schools,
prevent clitoridectomy in Africa,
protest the treatment of women
everywhere
.
And a threat that if she didn
t sign
a good luck letter she would
be cursed with bad luck.

Later her neighbour brought her news
of a woman bitten by her friend
s dog
and another woman by a stranger
s
(dog that is), all in the same week
and on the same little bad-dog island.
Her neighbour also told of some
poor folks who got an inheritance and

bought waterfront and some rich folks
who lost a packet on some deal
and had to move from waterfront
to some dirt track in the interior.
And
Oh! she said to some of this news,
and Aaah! she said to the rest.

In the evening, the book she was reading

informed her that 96% of the universe,
her universe, was made up of unknown stuff,
and that ten parts of her body could now
be replaced at a certain price, and that
she could be cloned in the very near future

if she should wish to bewhich she didnt,
already having a twin and finding that strange enough.

And as she lay in bed at night listening
to JR Country, she learned that she should
be sticking to the true values of flag-waving
and of small towns where the skyscrapers are silos.

As she fell asleep she let the input of the day

swirl any way it might in her head
the oxymoron of honest politicians, news
of the sex-trade workers in Africa and of AIDS there too,
and of a starlet who had been married three times
and was barely twenty, and of anti-ballistic missiles.

In the morning she got up and, reaching for her silk-
covered journal, wrote:

snow still here
in the half-opened white crocus
a sleeping bee


From Segues, Toronto: Wolsak and Wynn, 2005.