A Poem by Neruda

March 8, 2012

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A hand made a number.
It joined one little stone to another,
one thunderclap to another,
one fallen eagle to another,
one arrowhead to another,
and then with the patience of granite the hand made a double incision,
two wounds and two grooves:
and a number was born.

Then came the numeral two, then a four;
one hand kept making them all– the five,
the six, the seven, the eight, the nine–zeroes like bird’s eggs,
unbreakable, solid as rock,
printing the numbers without wearing away;
and inside that number, another,
and another inside that other,
teeming, inimical,
prolific, acerb,
counting and spawning,
filling mountains, intestines,
gardens, and cellars,
falling from books,
flying over Kansas, Morelia,
blinding us, killing us, covering all:
out of wallets, off tables:
the numbers, the numbers,
the numbers.

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