Fall 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 4 Poetry |

In a Landscape: XII

Roman numerals don't do much for people who like zero (oh, null, nil, or nought). Zero was conceptual, as in Arabic numerals, where the whole thing seems more conceptual, at least to me right now, sitting here, trying to remember how to count in Roman, let alone imagine subtraction, division, etcetera. I was looking at the alphabet in my daughter's second-grade classroom the other day, wondering why the vowels were so mathematically distributed: A bed E fgh I jklmn O pqrst U vwxyz. Vowel, three consonants, vowel, three consonants, vowel, five consonants, vowel, five consonants, vowel, five consonants (as long as you ignore the uncertain status of Y, which reminds me of the uncertain status of the zero [nulla, nihil]: how can nothing be something? Indeed.). "I have nothing to say and I am saying it," is perhaps the most famous thing John Cage wrote, and he went on to write seven or so books on the topic. I've always enjoyed thinking of nothing as something, this

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John Gallaher’s most recent book is Map of the Folded World (University of Akron Press, 2009). More of his poetry can be seen in the Fall 2010 issue of The Kenyon Review.

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The Tourist

By John Gallaher

Roman numerals don't do much for people who like zero (oh, null, nil, or nought). Zero was conceptual, as in Arabic numerals, where the whole thing seems more conceptual, at […]

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