Today's poem is by Brenda Shaughnessy

Magic Turns to Math and Back

If time were tellable, we wouldn't keep asking.
Our faces would stop turning to face
the faceless face.

Enough with the hands meeting twice a day.
Enough of expecting change
at the same hour.

I f a table bears many weights of items,
the items also depress the upforce
of the table.

The notebook is equally ruined
by the lost wine. The table
is a platform on which to lose.

Surface has no depth but all depth
has this surface. Not on purpose.
So math, not metaphor, works.

I can't charm it open, so charm
is dropped: if't'weren't love,
then love weren't it. Two Ls arranged

as a square keep love outside the frame.
When I came, I was half-coming.
You left, half-leaving. A formula.

It's so even-steven, yet so fractal
and mobius. Yet hagborn. Yet digital.
Calculation is such subtraction,

always figuring what's under
what's under, to break the surface
of the negative realm down

where the wheels don't skid.
Where they may or may not skid.
Where we don't know.

Where we look at signs, like Five of Cups,
a sign of a set of four cups inside
one big cup, which is a drain

which is why you are weak.
Sourced. Circled protractorlike,
found will be our clock lock,

our night watch, our clear sign.
It's an invisible bend
in the lightsticks, it's a prophecy.

Copyright © 2008 Brenda Shaughnessy All rights reserved
from Quarterly West
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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