Not just a number by Marilyn Hammick

I go to sleep listening to a talk
about data, the collecting of it,
examples like the number thirty seven
which becomes information when you say
thirty seven degrees and knowledge
when you know that’s normal body temperature
if you’re human, adult and healthy.

I dream of a lost back door key,
I look for it in a square white vase,
there’s a man burying his clothes
in wet sand, fifties wedding photos
stiff with white gowned brides
who step through the frames,
I am weeping, it is quiet.

I wake up, it’s one forty two,
the radio, which should by now
have switched itself off, reports
that a ship carrying refugees
has capsized, four hundred people
have drowned in seas that are full
of all we fail to understand.

Marilyn can be found writing, stitching, knitting, walking or sleeping; follow her on Twitter @trywords and 

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