Roman Numerals
By Deborah H. Doolittle


marks the unknown,
the algebraic quotient of five
steps forward, five steps
back that somehow equals
The illiterate's John Hancock,
or Malcolm's surname.
The saxophone's hiss.
The love note's kiss.
Often, a connection, an
intersection, a mistake
in need of correction.
A sign for railroad
crossings. When in Four Corners,
a place to play hopscotch
in four states.
When incisive, splits rocks;
only then saxifrage comes.

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