The Geometry of Dying

by Katharine Gregg

Pale blood blooms
like sprays of flowers on porcelain
as if an ancient wound
touched down its feathers
and left no mark.
Across the glazed snow
the only color, six cherry blossoms,
the only motion, the mole
who spins counterclockwise
in a perfect bowl its feet have worn:
Circumference without apparent reference
to bloody tangent.

Constant rotation cancels direction.

How can we relate the hypothesis
of six bloody blossoms
to a body whose spin
equals mass times force of fused synapse?
Whose orbit describes
the separation of soul?
Could we have predicted
the convergence of cherry and taupe
to conclude the blossoms
are tangent to, not from, the mole?
And what factor is time?

Since not even a blue jay
swoops into the question
I kick a hole in this ungodly centrifuge
so the body can come to rest,
but blind as a toy it bumps
my boot and spins on
constant, counter-

Fear touches me with its feather.

When I creep back, morning
reveals sun and stillness
on crushed snow. The mole
lies on its side, without wound,
simple and unoffending.
For the first time I see
its tiny, immaculate feet.


Katharine Gregg has an MFA from Vermont College where she worked with Mark Doty, Belle Waring, Deborah Digges, David Rivard, and Roger Weingarten. She has taught English (as well as French and Latin) at Applewild School in Fitchburg, Mass. and other schools. She is currently the managing editor of Sacred Fire magazine. She has a manuscript making the rounds of the poetry contests and has had work published in North American Review, Cimarron Review, North Dakota Review, Nimrod, and others.

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