Trilobite is an arthropodologist's delight:
many bizarre creatures; no two alike.


Stephanie Barber

One is the expectation that life will be a certain way, that sounds and sights will miraculously align with each other. That you, flummoxed as you are by the dirty insinuations of gravity, will continue. Also, one is god and thick meniscus between here and there. The there of big consequence.

Two is what we have all been told will sustain us. Two is gross imbalance due to its propensity to over-project. Two is here beside this fig tree, too young in a too early spring to be fruiting so flagrantly.

Three is with pomposity and Wall Street and class signaling language usage. Three is Helmut Newton, Helmut Lang, Isaac Newton—all judgment and biography, two-piece jumpers with satin linings and tapered ankles. Circles of implication.

Four’s deep and abiding interest in if and when I begin to jog in earnest and knock off this desperate flailing around the neighborhood in my tear sated face, is undermined by its miserly equity. However many dried apricots away from eternity we remain I will continue to dream in reverse. About four there is a weaselly solicitude that masks an elegantly designed despair.

Here at five I know that you know that we must pause. Hold with me this moment. Five is prime, a Fermat prime and a regular polygon and evidenced at the ends of most people’s arms, wrists, palms. Five is the only Fibonacci number that is equal to its position. Also, for what it’s worth, there are five Platonic solids. I am one of them.

Six is the number of significant losses I will very likely suffer in the next ten to thirty years. A letter that arrived in the mail yesterday with a post stamp commemorating the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair with an illustration of the space needle placed horizontally. It is an arresting image and design. a simply drawn light rail passes the space needle and exits the illustration entirely. Six is a necessary danger, the internalization of provisional contentment as aspirational tax shelter.

Seven is gems. Seven was always going to be gems and there was no way of getting around it. Gems and flowers and vulgar fractions of gems and flowers like rhodochrosite and its ilk. Its silky ilk.

Eight, you deceitful cuckold, have no one but a few distant relatives to blame. Have you shame commensurate with your lack of fame, power, looks? put on a hat and then remove it. And again, on with the hat, cover the head, protect, and then unveil, expose, risk and then again hat, and then again, no hat and through eternity, cover, uncover, cover, uncover, cover, uncover, cover, uncover………cover.

With nine there is special joy, there is a wolfish confederacy and a reevaluation of scale. We humans, now fettered to the microscopic, bask in this new appraisal, this new capping of our power. Nine, divisional, domestic, the trappings of which have been left in suggestive piles as they reconstruct theatrical addenda to tele-plays most villages have forgotten. These plays are in agreement with harmony. How could they not be? The actual question. How could they not be?

Ten is the reason I’ve climbed so many of the world’s tallest mountains, been so cavalier with my mortality. Ten, wild oppressor, arrogant with the surety of systems, I’ve locked cabinet upon cabinet and still, like a woman in an advertisement for high-end headphones, you remain unmoved. Also, for ten, see five in reference to hands.

Eleven, like so many twin performers in so many traveling circuses, continues to swindle believers out of their hard-won, metaphorical biscuits, continues to chide the murky and suspect ethics of authority. And yet, it is this continuance which must be regarded. Regard seems a tempered word when just on the other side of glass, trees and grasses move wildly with the wind. And wind, another list entirely.

Twelve is the grace of chance dressed like a Turkish office worker from the early 1980s, beating her chest mercilessly and staring at clouds moving across the sky away from her. Always moving away from her in the vast blue.