William Doreski


Seven-Sided Curse

You read in a book that seven
sided objects, landscapes, people
offend nature, flesh, and spirit.

Your new distrust of heptagons
infects your daily perceptions.
With a tidbit of clever math

you prove that my rectangular
desk has three invisible sides
and has secretly undermined me

for at least the last twenty years.
You also demonstrate that walking
to the brook to watch it trill

over rocks and form black pools
shapes a seven-sided argument
against faith in human progress.

I should stay home and read books
on the simple calculus of form.
High-school plane geometry

wasn’t enough to prepare me
for the asymmetries of the world.
Heptagons are both regular

and not. I used to admire them,
but you claim they brainwashed me
in puberty when a young woman

offered seven sides of herself
without revealing anything
but moonlight the color of bone.

You know me better than history;
so when you warn me against
further consorting with heptagons

I promise that while admiring
winter constellations I’ll count
only even numbers of stars.