by Lee Slonimsky

These thin blue petals crowd together so,
it’s hard to count them.  But Pythagoras
can gently bend their head into sunlight
and patiently observe until he knows
there are nineteen.  He’s pleased with his eyesight,
a mild west breeze, a gleaming abacus,
the virtues of pure math.  But wait: nineteen,
he thinks, seems awfully random.  Odd.  And prime.
He counts four more blue flowers, all the same;
the breeze picks up; a broken branch sags…moans,
as if in sympathy with his distress
at nature’s strangeness.  Quite the mystery,
where nineteen came from, so haphazardly
that life itself could be all chance.  Unless…
Thoughts drift off slowly.  Black clouds in the west.
A flock of thirteen birds.  Lightning.  No rest.