Sunday Poem: “Numbers”


The murder

of Jamal Khashoggi

should not affect the relationship

between the United States

and Saudi Arabia.


On the line,

thousands of jobs

in the American weapon industries


billions of dollars in trade deals, including:

laser-guided missiles,

programmable bomb systems,

self-propelled Howitzers.


No responsible government

would risk all that

for one person.


Not even for a journalist.


The tens of thousands of Yemeni children

who died of starvation

(caused by the Saudis)

and in airstrikes

(led by the Saudis)

are not a good reason



Lost lives

are merely statistics,

to quote Stalin.


(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)

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