A Betrayal of Integers by Paula Closson Buck
Cumberland Island, Georgia
We have counted ninety egrets swooning
into the trees behind the mansion
where the Carnegies used to hang
their white towels. Birds, towels:
intelligible sums, like oranges and oranges.
Subtract from them the sea
and the sea turtle transmogrified
on the strand. The buzzards' code has settled to a pine tonight
though the blue dark is still
as distant as the cold
that entered a room on a woman's shawl.
When she walked among the peregrine fronds,
and seed ticks
found the pale inversions of her knees,
from where did she return
to disturb the immense
polygons of evening, opening a line, trailing
bits of wet
leaf across an oriental rug?
Poet / Professor Paula Closson Buck is a member of the English Department of Bucknell University and Editor of West Branch. "A Betrayal of Integers" is found in Buck's collection, The Acquiescent Villa (Louisiana State University Press. 1998).