MINUS

The least and lowest fact of outward observation is not a
bare fact, an independent entity, fact minus mind.

−J. Caird

The quasi-prepositional pedantic use
Placed in order to deduce,
Between two self-satisfied expressions,
The presence of some indiscretions,
Lurking nihilists whose very threats
Will swamp the happy pair in debts
Of this quantity or that,
Or to indicate that the that
(Or the this) does not in fact
Subsist in reason as an act
To the enumerated being,
Or lack of being,
Therein specified,
A so-to-speak numericide
Where some passing figure
Has been waylaid by a bigger,
Pretending just to coincide
When really it is misallied
And intends to rid itself
Of its companion’s greater wealth,
But quite demurely,
With the deduction purely
Of some constituent
Or inattentive element
Of the smugly solvent universe,
The calculus of scavengers
And abacus of raw excess
By which deficient lives egress,
Destitute of an essence which pertains
To their mathematical remains,
Invisible, abstruse, and thin as air,
The inner urge to strip us bare,
And yet as dangerous to the vast expanse
As any finite circumstance,
But, on the other hand,
The opposite of the ampersand,
Needing mass where it’s prefixed
To represent a world nixed,
Forming only in the shell,
Whose emptiness it lives to tell,
The whirling devil of the genuine,
Against whose heaven it must sin,
The algebraic form of vis-à-vis,
Where our contrarieties we see,
Something really just not there−
To existence au contraire−
Yet without it nothing matters
And the theory of all numbers shatters;
On its own: nonentity,
Yet without its frown, we cease to be:
But though it from the least of subjects stole,
Minus minus remains a whole.