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Symmetries of dilation

Alice Major
From:   Lattice of the Years. Calgary, Bayeux Arts Inc, 1998.


Early griefs lay down the shape —
as a baby nautilus creates
            with its first seed-chamber
            the opalescent model
                       for its unfolding
                       growth.

Death of a pet turtle. Its small life taken
for granted. But, in the ritual —
            the pastel roses cut from birthday cards
            and pasted on a cardboard box, the hollow
                       dug with a spoon from the kitchen drawer —
                       sadness swallows us.
We feel again the scrabble of minute claws
against our palm, remember the sideways
            scoop of stubby legs. In wrapping
            the shallow-domed shell with pink tissue,
                       we come to know completely
                       that the narrow head will never
emerge again. Remember our delight?
that first time, when we saw the cords
            stretch beneath the pleated skin
            and the miniature jaws
                       open.

The newer griefs grow larger, but
no different in shape. The great griefs
loom ahead. Their mouths open wider
            and wider, create
            the laminate structure of loss —
            sea creatures building a universe
                       of spiralled pearl. Hold that opening
                       to your ear and listen
                       to the empty
                                  palaces

_________
Note: in mathematics, "symmetries" are various kinds of transformation that leave something apparently unchanged. "Dilation symmetry" results from increasing all dimensions in the same proportion so that the overall shape stays the same.


Alice Major's works copyright © to the author.


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