PARTS PER TRILLION

PARTS PER TRILLION

As if to measure treasure, we study parts per trillion
using strobelike science, and all it imparts per trillion.

Forced dancing on deck to prevent disease. Forced feeding
against hunger strike. Grim game of human darts per trillion.

Against voodoo and disobedience, revolt and all
such black tricks, try conjuring the darkest arts per trillion.

Smallpox, syphilis, malaria, measles—the Old World’s
cryptic gifts distributed in fits and starts per trillion.

To create the seamless beauty of fine mulatto mutt,
’twas necessary to rape this many tarts per trillion.

You suffer, therefore I am. Or therefore I don’t…suffer.
Some equations produce one Rene Descartes per trillion.

All the counting—calories gained, miles made, lives lost—neatly
summed in navigational, bar, and pie charts per trillion.

Maafa is no myth but there’s plenty of mythology.
Just why, in Africa, are there no Mozarts per trillion?

Guns, germs and steel, cotton, tobacco, sugar, molasses,
rum: piled high with profits go the groaning carts per trillion.

Now professors squabble over greater pain—Maafa or
Holocaust?—dispensing statistical farts per trillion.

We must know, exactly, how many there were, how many
perfectly and exquisitely broken hearts per trillion.

parts per trillion