August 13, 2004
A poem about a number (see also paraskavedekatriaphobia):
Triskaidekaphobia across the centuries-- from John Hollander's Powers of Thirteen
Kept us seating one more at the table, even when
The extra one was silly or redundant or gross.
Moreover, the new arrangements--the sexes paired off,
The doubled sevens, the mysteries of ten and four--
Masqueraded as reasons, hiding always our fear
Of dangerous and pungent oddments behind the bright
And interesting arrangements that terror had us make.
Like grownups now, allowing the black cats to amble
Across our shadows in the forenoon without alarm,
We can at least, in a poor time for discourse, invite
Exactly whom we please, whom we need: it will be right
In a new shape, finished beyond the old completion.