In The News Today

In The News Today

by KIKO V.

I awoke this morning to the
tail end of a newscast on my radio:
A deep, resonant voice informed me
that the death toll in Syria had climbed to
seven hundred and fifty, and that the stock market
was down forty-five points.

The low-pitched voice did not pause between
or after the two statements to allow me to
fully assimilate their contents;
nor did it vary in its tonal inflection
to indicate that one event was any more
significant than the other.

The announcer simply ticked off the news highlights,
as if they were items on the neatly folded shopping list
his wife had tucked into his shirt pocket
before he headed off to work this morning:

Two loaves of whole wheat bread,
one gallon of low-fat milk,
seven hundred and fifty government protesters
shot dead by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad,
three tomatoes,
a can of mushroom soup,
seven hundred and fifty men, women, and children
sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of freedom and democracy,
two cloves of garlic,
a dozen large eggs,
seven hundred and fifty courageous Syrians,
who will never again see the white desert sun
rise above the ancient ruins of Palmyra,
nor taste the salty Mediterranean air
on their desert-dry lips.

On the way to work, I passed by an old church
with a sun-faded marquee sticking out
from a bed of shoulder-high weeds.

The rickety sign proclaimed in large block letters:

And beneath that it read:
“Due to the poor economy,
Friday night Bingo has been canceled.”

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