Regina Coll

I counted
because basic numbers were seductive in their obviousness,
unlike algebraic mystery.
And thought
adding one again and again, was contemplative.

My own doctor fretted over the counting
about the activity and yield to which I replied
relationship of a sort, so distant as not to be remembered except in numbers.
I’d had a few remarkable experiences of patient care
the brush-touch of need
the metal musics made outside normal limits
and my own, their own
unleashed or folded like leathery origami puzzle-piece questions
lathed answers and
disease’s absolute indifference to each story.
Casting out for reassurance this
is not well-rooted within 8 to 12 hours.

The reality of years too hard to grasp, I divided
by positions by facilities for perspective.
And was shocked by this accumulation hinting at the larger number.

Counting the lines upon my palm and knowing some of them landed
upon health or upon illness or death—I don’t remember much anymore,
except numbers, and counting, add one add.
This way I re-create the patient gesture
this way.