Thursday, January 17, 2013


Numbers fit everything so well,
It's as if we live in a bespoke universe
With a mathematician for tailor.

On closer inspection they're nonsense,
Although the transparent stitching
Is fit for any emperor.

Try your mind at teaching a toddler
A little arithmetic. Scrutinize
The things you are counting.

Here is a picture illustrating
The number ten: ten green frogs.
The toddler might see something else,

Even you might. Two of the frogs
Are large. Eight of the frogs are
Tiny. Four small and one large

Have open mouths. Six small
Are apparently hopping,
The other two and both big are sitting.

How are these ten of the same?
We're counting by traits and the traits
Are infinitely enumerable.

The toddler might count a mama
And a papa and babies. The toddler
Might narrate frogs trying to eat

Each other. We have some innate
Sense, it seems, of countably similar
Things, up to at least a few.

The rest is learned application
Of algorithms for infinite
Itemizing and rearranging items.

There's no real two of anything.
There's no real one of anything.
There's no zero thing, no minus,

No nothing of things, just everything,
Which is why the nothings of numbers
Are so eerily beautiful, as if

(And everything's always as if
In this world) flocks of ghosts
Had settled their invisible, weightless

Tulle skirts and veils over each
And every aspect of experience,
Empty nets to press against our skin.

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