The Limiting Four, the Hand

— Robert Okaji

From lines to a cross and hence the square, four’s foundation is order.
Mayans relied upon the four horizons touched by the cross’s ends.
The cardinal points. Four winds, four colors, four roads, four shrines.
The Japanese word for four, shi, is a homonym of death.

in the mouth
and must be spoken
precisely, with grace and great care

In the material world, the human heart consists of four chambers.
Earth, water, fire and air: the world is my representation.
Naming an entity assumes power over it; uttering a name unleashes its power.
My window is divided into quarters, connected by light and wood.

evolved from hand to row of tips
to peak or corner,
we see sun
moon, earth

A handsbreadth measurement excludes the thumb.
To achieve an Italian phrase for parsimony, divide zero into four.
The symbol of the earth and its four corners, its humors, its seasons.
Both temporal and spatial, it subsumes our limits.

four states of matter—
solid, liquid, gas and plasma

A square demands 360 degrees, as does the circle: limiting yet immaculate.
The only number in English whose value matches its letter count.
The Turkish expression with four hands illustrates hard work.
The picture of completion, it assumes perfection.

the number of exile, of truth
beyond four—many

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