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Pancake Dilemma

Another subway station blows up in Europe,
it’s right there on the front page,
and I’m about to pour some syrup on my pancakes.

But perhaps I shouldn’t be doing this.

Maybe I should just put the syrup down
out of respect for the victims and their families.

Yet who is there to witness my sacrifice,
my gesture of solidarity, however small, 
with the international community?

My wife is playing with our son in the living room.
I’m at the table by myself and I could just go ahead
and pour the syrup and smear on some butter
and think compassionately about the victims
while eating the pancakes while they’re hot.
No one will benefit from my eating cold pancakes.


Instead, I call out to my wife from the dining room,
“Another subway station blew up in Europe,
they think it’s terrorists,” but she doesn’t hear me,
the TV’s turned up for Paw Patrol.

So I just sit here quietly for a moment,
then start eating the pancakes,
trying not to enjoy them too much.

—from Blood Pages, available on Amazon

Bruce Charlesworth

“Contemporary life has become so complicated that even something as simple as enjoying a pancake requires careful thought and planning.”

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