512 on the Pinky of Your Left Hand

Count it thus: one thumb for you, for you are singular, selfless, unique: therefore odd.

One index finger for the Other, your Twin, who sees what you do not and cannot, for your eyes look in one direction only. Together you are a dyad, not a monad; like electrical fields, you flow north to south; therefore 2.

One middle finger for the group, for insult, for exile; for anger. Two to make your group, two to make another, for one alone is not a group but an outcast; therefore 4.

One ring finger for the Nation, for a circle of wagons surrounding the cattle, for half who sleep and half who wake, for one group that labors and one that plans, one that reaps and one that sows; therefore 8.

One pinky finger for God, with many faces and with one, the point, the line, the plane, the space; God who spans the Nations, who cleaves the rocks and clefts the mountains, God in the corn and God in the earth, blood and pain without which there is no birth; therefore 16.

One thumb for Philosophy, for Skepticism, for Doubt, for Questioning. Philosophy, who exerts its right to exist for no reason save to exist; Skepticism, who doubts even that it exists, and hunts, lantern high, for an honest man; Doubt, who wakes at night to see lights playing across the ceiling and — just for an instant — guesses at the puppeteer behind the curtain; Questioning, who lays its head on the block quite cheerfully, wondering if there will be a moment or two when it will see the world bouncing and disconnected; therefore 32.

One index finger for Industry and Development; also, one index finger for the Waste Lands, the wound that will not heal, the flowers growing and the cruelty of spring; therefore 64.

One middle finger for Poetry. Pass on in silence, eyes downcast and modest, face turned away from madness; therefore 128.

One ring finger for Mathematics, for Infidelity, for Suicide; who sees the wheels or does not see the wheels despairs; therefore (lapsed in fullness) 256.

One pinky finger, at last, for the Fool, for the dogs at his heels, for the bindle on his shoulder, for the chasm opening under his advancing foot. One pinky finger for the future and the past, and therefore (yet again) for yourself, new-minted, and thus 512.