From interlocking double-helix gears
That join, engendering relentless torque,
We come to be. Rotationality
Pervades our form: the infant’s threadbare whorl
Of hair, the tiny teeth (our pink gums’ cogs)
That—nicking first a breast, then solid fare,
Insert us into childhood’s groove. We fare
Ahead, our youthful fingers fleshly gears
That clasp our elders’ corresponding cogs.
Our parents’ larger hands exert more torque
So, mechanized advantage spent, they whorl
Us toward our own rotationality.
In constant flux, rotationality
Spins Ferris wheels for which we tender fare
To ride. It cycles bikes, and forms the whorl
Within the conch whose chambered gears
Emit the ocean’s song. The sea drives torque—
It slakes the thirsty sun whose fire-pronged cogs
Arouse our limbs, spur wits to motion. Cogs
Conjoin, then mind’s rotationality
Spins insight from the shadows. Time’s the torque
That tallies cost, assigning youth a fare
To pass into maturity. Its gears
Grind in, teeth fill our core. We bear its whorl,
Like growth-ring-girded saplings bent to whorl
With weather’s whims—no more nor less the cogs
That drive a tireless mechanism’s gears.
Per DNA’s rotationality
We age, and speculating how we’d fare
Adjoined, seek out a counter-cog. We torque
Against it, trade two rings, converting torque
To infant energy: new gears to whorl,
To bite, to bike, to pay the Ferris fare,
To hear the seashell croon, to learn that cogs
Both seal and tear. Rotationality
Ensures, despite how well we work our gears,
We churn with borrowed torque. We’re self-same cogs
That whorl until rotationality
Collects its fare to fuel abler gears.
If you have any thoughts on this sestina, Mindy Watson
would be pleased to hear them.