It was like walking through the city park after finishing work for the day and noticing that the trees have white tags tied around their trunks, and, on closer inspection, that the tags contain numbers.
It was like thinking about the numbered trees living arboreal life outside numbers, though the rings accumulating inside the trunks are also engaged in a form of counting.
It was like walking back home past the façade of a new hotel on which large white room numbers are painted under the windows, so that the travelers are turned into lab rabbits in the experiment of traveling.
It was like sitting back down at your desk to write an invoice for the day, grinning as you multiply the work by an hourly rate, while another ring deepens its stain inside your body.
Donna Stonecipher is the author of three books of poems, most recently The Cosmopolitan (2008, winner of the National Poetry Series). A fourth, Model City, is forthcoming from Shearsman in 2015. She lives in Berlin.