if you threw your shoe into the machine of the world
if you have a shoe
if we all threw all the shoes at once,
jammed its great cogs and pistons,
if it groaned and gradually slowed.
if the trucks pulled over, and the drivers abandoned them,
if they went home to their families.
if you ate what was in your cupboards or your garden
if your cupboards were empty
you went to your neighbour, your friend, your auntie,
if a stranger fed you.
if for a day or a week
if for a week or a month
we turned out the lights and dusk fell like leaves,
if we listened and let our eyes adjust
if we threaded together our fingers
looked across our tables and saw one another
if we could see clearly, in the falling dark.
if no one showed up for work
if the magnificent glow of the grocery stores
and the shopping malls was extinguished,
if the coal plants sputtered
their trails of smoke tapered and vanished,
if the smog diminished and the stars came out
if the moon called you outside
if you didn’t have to get up early.
if the car engines stalled
and no one stopped for gas.
if the buses ceased to rumble and squeal
if the subways sighed to stillness.
if the fluorescent bulbs ceased their buzzing,
the batteries failed, and the fans went quiet
if the turbines and the dams and the generators quit
if we decided we didn’t need them
for a day, or a week.
if the pipelines could drain,
an end to extraction and pumping
if thousands of barrels per hour lingered in the ground
mingling with the sour gas, the bedrock and sand,
if someone approached the pipes sprawled like huge dead fish
and struck a gleaming side with an empty fist
if it rang and reverberated like a gong.
if it found the tuning fork of the railroad, a pure tone,
if the ringing infiltrated the cities and the small towns,
the tired fields and forests,
if it danced over the lakes and rivers,
and slowly diminished,
if we all heard it,
if it prepared us