by Angela Acosta
Little black and inky dot men calculate rows of text,
embrace the alabaster color of sheeted paper to print
letters, additions, quotations, extras,
then fall again into the sable morrow.
Near sunrise, ink men trail back to the inkwell;
colored dancers thread cyan, magenta, and yellow
inside the labyrinthine printing machine to make room for pictures, obituaries, lucid details, and too much information.
The red dancers flap and bubble in their ink cartridges,
but their blood drops and citations are unsolicited.
The dancing ends, no claps, no whistles,
mere speculation of their next performance.
Quotas for the day are sent to the multilingual dancers
unaware of the destruction their inky husbands report.
It’s the truth we hate the most.
Reporters revel in the foreboding accuracy of quick reports,
the potholes on a road already laid waste.
A death is a paragraph. Two hundred ink men allocated.
A thousand inky dancers for a full-page colored spread.
A flood of futile tears will drown the ink men,
a family’s only hope deposited in the terse ad “estate sale”.
Cameras on, printers humming, pretzels crunched at midnight.
Morning begins with smudged reading glasses and rushed coffee.
Hardly aware of the lives affected before they awake
the guardians of the printing press return to their stations.
The period and the italicized AP are their calling cards,
the printing press their humble domain.
© 2022 Angela Acosta All rights reserved.