Of odd and even, the figure of natural man.
If an open hand equals five, what, then, is a fist?
The number of fear, of strength and severity.
Pressing the thorn into my thumb, I redeem.
Wood subdues earth.
Of Ishtar, the talisman of magic, the quintessence.
After the fall, the five.
Earth conquers water.
An outstretched body’s form: the pentagon.
Charred flesh, death in the air.
Of perfection and man’s limits.
Five wounds, five mysteries, the pyramid’s representation.
The hamsadeflects an evil eye.
Water extinguishes fire.
I close my eyes and see.
Metal cuts wood.
The staff serves time and pitch in music.
From waves to vibration to nerve impulses.
Nexus of the cardinal directions.
Of balance and harmony; the center.
Product of the first female and male numbers.
The Szechuan peppercorn confuses the tongue.
Fire melts metal.
When multiplied by a factor of itself, the end.
Numbers fascinate me. “Five” was published in the 2018 summer edition of The High Window. Many thanks to editor David Cooke for taking this piece.
Viscosity is always a consideration, as is definition:
traditionally a sauce composed of meat juices and
thickeners, or, a sediment of melted tallow, which
somehow brings to mind a laborer rising early after
a hard night, eating red-eye, made of fried ham
drippings and coffee, served over grits. Or perhaps
an egg gravy – a béchamel sauce flavored by bacon,
with water and milk, and an egg – ladled over butter-
rubbed biscuits. But then I picture my vegetarian
friends pushing away from plates of this fine repast,
and not wishing to deny them or those following a vegan
lifestyle, we turn to roasted vegetables with broth, oils
and wine and a savory yeast extract. But I can’t fathom
a life without giblet gravy, which features the neck and
offal of fowl, including the liver, the taste of which may
be too strong for other recipes using giblets, an interesting
word in itself, from the Old French for a game-bird stew,
and the Middle English meaning of an inessential
appendage, or entrails, morphing to garbage. I would
never throw out an onion gravy, essentially a thick sauce
of slow-cooked onion and stock or wine, and admit to
having tasted a cream version with the consistency and
flavor of diluted paste, indicating a lack of balance in
flavor and poor roux-making technique. My favorite
would be an Italian-American buddy’s gravy, his word
for a rich ragù of sausage, braised beef and shredded
pork, red wine, tomatoes and herbs, served over pasta.
This of course stretches the definition of the word, but
language is elastic, is it not? So it flows, as does the gravy.
“As the Gravy Flows” was drafted during the August 2016 30/30 Challenge. Thank you to Lady Phoenix for sponsoring the poem and providing the title!