it’s about relationships, this Greek letter pi,
a circle’s circumference divided by its diameter,
a real number but irrational as an open investigation.
3.14 — pi begins but has no end
like an incalculable series of everyday lies,
pi can never be fully known, but we keep searching
using machines to gather more digits, refining,
always getting closer but forever approximating.
3.14159 — pi is always the same but never the same,
constant and infinite, no matter how big the circle
(friends and family, business partners and oligarchs)
the decimal is an endless array of characters
without true value, dancing after the dot, speaking in code
like Pilish, where every digit is word length —
“Russian bullshit” becomes 7-8 and “no collusion” is 2-9,
over and over appearing with regularity but without pattern.
In Pilish, a Special Counsel’s report might begin “Not I,
said a Putin operative,” if I simply counted characters.
It’s not so easy to square the circle, all because of pi.
In the future, Spock will order a computer to calculate pi
to the last digit, a futile command that expels an evil wolf
in the fold. Yet wickedness hides everywhere in plain sight.
Exposing ogres is finding pi — the search is transcendental.
3.141592 — I could go on, but, like a certain scrivener,
I would prefer not to.
Susan Carroll Jewell is an East Coast writer. Her poetry has been informed by a series of disparate experiences and unmanageable interests, the confluence having emptied like a flood into her own collective memory. Born in Massachusetts and now living in Upstate New York, her graduate school advisor at the University of Virginia derided her for being neither fish nor fowl, to which she would add nor good red herring. Robert Mueller had better luck studying law at UVA.
Editorial art by Elle Aviv Newton.