What an interesting number—ninety-nine! One short of the most magical number ever, one more than the most nondescript of numbers. Ninety-nine, the number that judges everything, from the sincerity of a lover to the contamination in a bar of iron. Ninety-nine, a hungry number, besmirched by an accusation of incompleteness, yet perfect in form—its twin members so beautifully illustrating its two divisors. The first one less, the second one more than that other fabulous number, ten. Ten, which multiplied by itself yields that magic figure all men yearn for. Perfect and yet always incomplete. Ever hungry, ninety-nine.
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whitened sky...
in one drop
the rainbow

(Published in Frogpond 37.1 (2014)
Republished in South Asian Ensemble 2014)


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