I feel this terrible weight over me. Stepping from the bath I almost fall, keeping myself steady only by two hands and the hope that later, I might write something beautiful for you. It is not accomplished. I read a book instead, listen to Brahms and try to find the algorithm within the piano concerto. It’s useless. Though numbers fall in love with me daily, and I with them. Perhaps there are a buckets of systems missing me.
And in come the knots again. Sly as they are, but kind — hopeful as snails but turning up their noses at the idea that I might transcribe them. And so I go on reading. One more hour of chamomile tea and perhaps your belly will give me a poem. Remember how to sail the skin. Forget it. Go down for more chamomile tea. Learn how the cranium is a continuing system that learns on contact, not a fixed program. Insert a number for the feeling: one hundred and seventy eight.. Though the knots, which sit by my bed, wiggle their circular bodies at this. “Oh, no?” I ask. They silence themselves like tulips. Looking quite innocent, though I know otherwise.
I feel this terrible weight. Having read a whole novel, I nod off and slip into the evening of a dream where we are lying on our backs, counting the breaths between us. And I want all of mine to match yours. You laugh because that’s very naïve of me—don’t I know the best of compliments are two forces running headlong into each other? No, I said, and took note of the weight of your body—the displacement between us. You laugh and explain that the word algebra means “reunion.” Your hand passes over my body like a crop-plane and I awake, imagining myself in rows.
The knots cannot take the thought of rows, hobbling around like unlined messiahs. They spit at the thought where I curl round the image of your body and sway.
The chamomile tea has gone cold. I’ve read a novel, dreamed of you, and not accomplished any writing. The weight over me persists. The knots nod in unison, vibrate against one another, refuse to reveal their coordinates. I reheat the kettle, waiting for the weight to lift, for some snail to crawl out of the kitchen window and onto my arm, for my brain to contain itself, for the knots to uncurl their bodies, for something to let loose it’s numbers for my inspection.
Nine thousand, four hundred and eight six, I repeat, as I climb the stairs to bed: nine thousand, four hundred and eighty six. Perhaps I’ll write something beautiful for you tomorrow. Right now, there’s a jewel in my head: nine thousand, four hundred and eighty six–space between closest bodies, angles lying next to one another, unhinged, pressed into a long surprise.