Jari Thymian | Laughing at Number Two…and more

Laughing at Number Two

after Laughing at the Word Two by Hafiz


The Illuminated One

is still laughing at the way we use

the number two to pretend


our biological functions can be separated and

divided from ourselves like closing a privacy door,

shutting our eyes, or holding our breath


through our body’s release of waste. For centuries,

the world has wished the sight, smell and sound of our

animal-ness to disappear, be carried away by someone else.


Hafiz says, You are alive! If only we understood our base and

lofty one-ness while squatting over a small hole, watching a toilet

overflow, or using leaves or scraps of paper from a third


grader’s math lesson in sub-Saharan Africa. All seven

billion of us together would be laughing at ourselves

because the number two connects us, proves us One.


All the Moon’s Phases

after All the Hemispheres by Hafiz


Change toilets in your mind for a day.

Let your judgment drop 35 feet

into an earthen hole dug by hand.


Look up to the night sky from a hut

made of mud bricks.

Listen to the tree frogs sing.


Make a new water-mark on your life

without toilet paper or gallons of precious

water. Nothing is what you expect.


Like a welcomed experience,

gaze at the fields of bananas and coffee

trees on mountains and meadows.


Wait in line with women to pay three cents

each time your bladder or colon will no longer

wait to deduct from today’s one-dollar income.


Drop out of school like a girl in India

who must carry water for your family’s intimate

cleaning. Your village toilet, an open field.


Like a blooming night flower, in public

cover your face as you uncover your moon to

release the vital discharges of a human body.


Greet your animal self, no longer exempt

from the hidden tide of disease traveling

from fluids to fields to fingers to flies to food.


Return home to the easy democracy of your

own toilet, your formerly unthinkable sewer

pipes, your clean water. How can you not be changed?


Even Hafiz would say the most untouchable of your

untouchable brothers and sisters deserve health,

deserve dignity in the Great Circle of life.


Ode to the London Sewer Flusher

Dear wearer of hip-waders and breathing tank,

descender into manholes. Dear blaster of congealed

grease clogs and solidified muck poured down a drain.

Dear repairer of leaks, dear searcher of cracks

and Q-tips. Dear explorer of the maze of thousands

of miles. Dear defender of Henry VIII’s Bill

of Sewers. Oh, courageous in the face of danger –

sudden floods of rainfall and factory discharge,

methane, hepatitis, cholera, and typhoid. Dear

waylayer of death and disease, return safely

to morning light on the street above after

your nights shuffling through our confluence

of shit, denial and taboo. Bless you, my flusher,

for facing my excreta, my dark off-limits.




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