Janet Buck • Long Division

One side: “Have.”
The other: “Not.”
The constitution of the cold
in terms of wealth
that isn’t shared.
The big and almost glib divide
was tar without a human touch.
This road became the dental floss
that ran between the city’s teeth.

One side swallowed.
One side spit.
The homeless lived
in break-down lanes that
should have been a temple’s igloo
sculptured in the blowing snow.
Forest hills went up in flames
as if to say: “Hey, you guys –
your mortal portals have no holes.”

When fire spread up mountainsides
and came too close to mansions held
by wormy palms and gloves of money,
poverty was on the truck to douse
the flames with human warmth.
When fire spread down oil drum alleys,
rich was busy chasing lights
on runways of a fashion show.
Need was just a filthy orphan
hands of “have” would brush away.