Home » Death » The earthquake theory of misfortune (poem)

The earthquake theory of misfortune (poem)

People like to think that they are special,
that bad things can’t happen to them.
This is why they want to know
what disease
such-and-so died of.
They then compare to themselves.
“I don’t smoke, so I won’t die that way.”
“I exercise, so I won’t die that way.”

As if death is a punishment,
a thing that happens
as a natural result of
bad choices,
rather than being something
that happens to everyone.

Or they want to know
where the crime happened,
to see how close it is
to them.
On neighborhood watch pages,
someone will post that there was a
break-in, or a mugging
and everyone wants to know
what street,
as if being closer
is more dangerous.
As if criminals don’t travel.

People want to know
where the epicenter is,
to see how close
or far away
they are.

The poet John Donne said
“Ask not for whom the bell tolls,
it tolls for thee.”

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