Sighs Matter


They jab and sting like swarm­ing hor­nets, they scar and stab, infect­ing my skin with weep­ing sores and sup­pu­rat­ing boils. No mat­ter what I do — spew hiss­ing lava to swal­low towns, cough tsunamis, roll oblit­er­a­tion across entire coast­lands, ham­mer cities with earth­quakes, bury them in mud, incin­er­ate them, smash them — still they take one more, they always want just one more. Busy, mind­less of the hell they make, they look away, ignore my warnings.


I have helped these crea­tures grow, I have given them life. I can dimin­ish them. The greedy, reck­less, harm­ful ones. I gave them anti­bod­ies, killer-T’s to scav­enge free rad­i­cals. To pro­tect myself I must cre­ate killer-T’s. To minia­turise them, dis­able them.’


She sighed as she spun again, and released in that sigh:


A min­imis­ing mol­e­cule, tar­get­ing despots and sadists, wife-beaters and bankers.

A mag­netic chem­i­cal, track­ing the metal­lic smell of avarice and cru­elty, dis­cov­er­ing every averted eye, every mur­der by com­mis­sion or omis­sion, every act of gar­gan­tuan greed that left a nation starved.

A grief-seeking drone, that locked onto the blink­ered con­science ignor­ing rap­ine, geno­cide, torture.

In ratio to the hurt they caused, she made the per­pe­tra­tors shrink.


They learned too late that sighs matter.


Overnight it became appar­ent that the cor­ner offices, the pent­house suites, the exec­u­tive jets, the lake­side vil­las were all empty of their owners.

Con­sci­en­tious clean­ers inad­ver­tently vac­u­umed their employ­ers along with cocaine and dog hair. Anx­ious min­is­ters, all unwit­ting, trod on their tiny, naked supe­ri­ors while search­ing for them. Pedi­gree cats ate them, tro­phy wives sat on them, the chil­dren of priv­i­lege flat­tened their fathers and occa­sion­ally their moth­ers beneath skate­boards and rollerskates.

Arms fac­to­ries fell silent, wars ceased, the weak, the poor, the meek no longer lived in fear. There was enough for everyone.


She smiled as she spun.


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