So many piled beneath the peeling tree
it seems a late polluted hail had come,
some antediluvian, post-biblical plague
that fell and fell and blotted out the sun
and would not melt, but scattered like leaves

across the walk where you bend down, pick one,
then place it squarely in my palm. "Look, Dan,
at the star-shape on the crown, the hollow cone
a bloom of five born out of four." And soon
you're quoting sages—Plato and Thomas Browne—

"the quincunx blossoming from quaternity":
such mystical symmetries, to which you add
bodies in the Kaballah, the Tarot, the Torah,
Christ on the Cross, snowflakes, the human hand.
I run my thumb along the pith. Four scars

ascend to where something—call it nature—
fixed hull to crest, each rough plane perfected
like a fossil browned by centuries in earth,
and five carved points that open into black,
and look like a seal, and are deeply cured.

Mark, my reb, whose name doubles wisdom,
you could convince me to believe in Blake
and his eternity, a heaven encased in words;
this shell the image my own soul might make,
its wounds at seed under bone-white boughs.