A drop in the bucket: an old cliche.
Every small act honored or dismissed
as a drop in the bucket.
Filling the bucket is expected and demanded.
The drops are incremental, are loved
or hated depending on how quickly or fervently
we wish for the bucket to become full,
and how deeply we want what is going
into the bucket.
A drop in the bucket repeated steadily —
a gun’s hammer-click ringing in metal, a pebble
bouncing against the hard plastic sides
as it falls to the bottom — maddening
to the heart or soothing to the ear. The sound
of the landing changing to splash from smack
or from thud to clink.
No one wants to think about
the ones drowning slowly
in the bucket.
The bucket itself
isn’t changing as it fills;
no one thinks of that except
the ones waiting
inside for it to be spilled.
Trying to tip it before
it’s too late.
Screaming for someone
to come kick it over.