And All Around, the Withered

And All Around, the Withered

I total the numbers printed
on passing boxcars,

multiply by seven, then add two,
subtracting every third odd number,

only to find, in the end, myself
tethered to this empty platform,

spelling hapless with integers,
acknowledging Zahlen and

the infinite. Sometimes gravel, too,
calls to me and I observe space

in the path’s patterns, constellation
stacked upon constellation,

multi-dimensional galaxies
expanding in one swooping arc,

heroic eagles and exploding stars
complicit in their deeds and forever

locked in sequence, yet when I explain
my vision, the words emerge

as convex polyhedrons or inverted,
drooled gasps, and people turn aside.

That boy’s two bricks shy a full load, they
say. The lights are on but nobody’s home.


“And All Around, the Withered” was published in Steel Toe Review in January 2017.

13 thoughts on “And All Around, the Withered

  1. This one is as demanding as it is evocative (maybe it is the rigor it demands within the framework of its quiet lament, which serves to evoke my compassion?). Hmm…

    Yes, the visage of eternity (though some may share an innate — if not hopelessly muted — apprehension of its existence) has yet to be successfully described and conveyed by most, if not by all. Oh, how it would advance our species’ general capacity to imagine and implement peaceful answers to cultural strife were this not the case!

    Even the language of “Zahlen” — seemingly as much as that of words (the phonemes we’ve subsumed, only to eviscerate them of their onomatopoetic purity in the interest of binding them into wieldable forms) — which I think must get about as close to escaping humanity’s self-defeating nature as will ever be possible, too often falls on “withered” ears.

    I’m trying to bring my reading of this piece home to some grand, articulable conclusion, but the words elude me. Suffice it to say, though the limitations of all my senses are undeniable, this poem moves me to try to listen.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. If you would permit me…I love this, can I share this on my blog…??? wow
    Such array of ballistic words
    I felt like a world war of words happened before my arrival
    The letters in trance hijacked my heart
    Sealing my weaknesses to a halt…

    Liked by 2 people

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