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,
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.