For those who find themselves at / the crossroads, seeking knowledge /
          of that craft known to its adepts as / The Four Ways, throwing it all to chance—

                                                  i. Squaring the Circle

          I am the fading son of
          eleven centuries of
sacred geometry, attentive
and expressionless as a sentry,
          boxed in by misery and
          misunderstanding under-

estimating me, my family

of brash, Olympian maniacs
          marathoning boulders of
          worse madness, running down their
mountainous minds to crash, depressive
valleys heavy doses of crushing
          reality flatten, such

          thunderbolting types, these oft’

ostracized champions of secrets
genetics and foresight bottled—and
          which battle—within me, words
          warring to be opened like
celebratory champagne, leaking
when I resist them and nearly burst,

          remembering well that first

          lesson of surveying so
alimentary, nourishing my
youth’s first glimpse of emptiness with the
          fundamental premise: that
          squares trap spirits while circles
merely contain them, and only then

temporarily, beasts of Bordens

          wreaking such cold havoc and
          creating so much damage,
not simply just because we can, but
so that we have something to control,
          working over a mindless
          populace with our heads as

if they were fists, never dirtying

our cursive hands, our quadrivium
          four circles of hell schooling
          around us, binding our souls
to one demon’s thirst my seventh-great-
grandparents had summoned, but never
          quenched, so it never once went

                                                  ii. Doubling a Cube

          away, as if eternal
damnation was in season when they
wed, and all the rage they kept concealed
          we find now today, or too
          late, unable to close those
doors they opened so long ago in

that humid forest thicket, cloaked in

          noontide heat and the mystic,
          splendid dread of the seven-
fold path of splintered lightning, heaven’s
exiles brandishing an unkindness
          of some divine knife, prying
          wide agape those smiling gates

dividing our lowly world from its

own kingdom, indebted as I am
          since birth to this loneliest
          wilderness for knowledge, wealth,
and influence fired from far above
it, from out the dark thing’s god-like head,
          weighted down with a flashing

          crown of horns my ancestors,

when feeling more timid, allowed our
curse to bestow a laurel wreath of
          dead leaves, laid on them by sin’s
          vigilant crows, that source of
our success reinforcing our woes,
heralded and chronicled by those

          Stoic birds who, ever since

          the pact, still follow us, each
corvid a black-hearted patriarch
of ours transformed into one, each shrill
          call of theirs dropped on those of
          us below who will listen,
chilling cries dripping inky wisdom

as though from a quill, warning against

          that force they called secret and
          kept hidden from crowds, hanging
its evil’s evidence, of which we
never speak, on a creaking limb, deep
          in that forest of dead trees
          writhing in midnight-burned roots,

                                                  iii. Trisecting an Angle

the only proof of life a willow
that does not weep, kept pruned of our truth
          by the cruel talons of
          our harpy who there still roosts,
talent’s catch that it never lets us
sleep, this needy fiend clawing into

          its ancient bark her clockwork

          bite-marks, until she is once
again freed to consume each son’s heart,
a fate less a punishment, than it
          is the swift collection, of
          the lives of we brutish men
who trace the same path, damned no matter

how great the heritage of our shared

          vocation, this ancient art
          with its patrilineal
and linear implications, trained
as we are, in our bones, never to
          question the occult laws of
          the equations governing

land and existence, the wisdom that

neither can ever really be made
          servant subject to mortal
          ownership, always troubled
and finished by the same calling, we
scorned and unfortunate Bordens end
          alike, by returning, what

          we each perceive as severe

and prematurely, to our master,
not our maker, in this case, poor blind
          bastards indentured to serve
          one of Lucifer’s nameless
delegates, a viscount shaded in
the same rhetoric, and retinue,

          of darkest infamy’s false

          monarchy, with the thieving
ignobility of which, ever
since that wicked little nuptial gift,
          much coveted in the bleak
          era of the practicing
witch, populated as it was with

                                                  iv. Building the Temple

black magicians and a very real
          sorcery, our entire line
          has been entwined, souls blackened
and wed like weeds ever since, before
our conceptions, to unholiest
          peerage, by allegiance to

          a contract of servitude

exempt from time’s annihilating
consolation, so sinister and
          perpetual, this twisted
          predicament will persist
until one of our kind finds out, once
and for all, its name, the elusive

          appellation of this fanged

          demon we each carry with
shame on our left shoulder, burdened by
its breath’s crippling wait like an heirloom
          apparition, feasting as
          it does on heredity
and tragic consequence, greeting us

in our dreams as that creature for whom

          evil is but a birdsong
          when, not wingèd, again as
a thing not quite, but like, a woman
it appears, waking this terror from
          a reeking bog’s mud and twigs,
          with knotted hairs of spinal

strings and chewed sinews, glistening with

molasses-thick pitch, twisted into
          those most unforgiving shapes
          even we cannot unsee,
every version and edition
of this tale ending the same: fathers
          and sons lost, taken from each

          other, intense hatred of

one’s mother, and parricide played like
a game, making inheritance seem
          so trivial a thing and
          legacy, like memory,
a pointless aim, since executing
any other deal would still bring pain.