It's The Knowing


It’s not the orderliness

It’s the knowing.

It’s the knowledge of how

Many tiles coat the ceiling

Of the lab on the third floor,

How many stripes are on

The rug of his room,

How many flies fry in the

Light, how many times you tap

Your fingers.

Fifty-six times. Always fifty-six.

It’s knowing the stripes on the rug upstairs,

In the house in New Hampshire

Have a pattern of


Which repeats twice

But has the particularly pernicious quality of

An extra stripe.

An. Extra. Stripe.


It’s knowing that you brushed your teeth for exactly

Thirty-five seconds in each quadrant, that

You were born on a Tuesday,

That you got a perfect

Score, that the GDP of Luxembourg

Is over 40 billion.

It’s also the knowledge that you went to the bathroom

Twelve times today.

Not because you had to.

But because you

Had to.

The knowledge that

If you look at your fingers

Drumming the eight note scale

Seven times for a total of fifty-six.

Always fifty-six.

You’ll see nails bitten to the


Cuticles torn.

It’s knowing that your

Arms are covered in tiny


Where you picked off your imperfect

Bug bites and scabs.

That you’re probably


From all the perfume you’ve sprayed.

That your lip

Is always swollen on the inside from

Biting it.

It’s knowing that you know.

That if a question is asked you know the answer,

That the number fifty six will always

Come after fifty-five,

That the brown stripe

On the rug upstairs will

Always come after the

Yellow stripe.

It’s not the orderliness.

It’s the knowing.



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