Fractal: a cascade of never-ending, self-similar, repeated
elements that change in scale but retain similar shape.

is why
I believe in 
and spirals, 
subtle shifts, cycles.
My son, preschooler stunned 
the science museum, 
sticks his hand 
into a glacier, 
the chunk 
a broken testimony, 
the history 
a world dissolving. Cold!
It’s cold! And
it’s melting. Look right here, he says.
of self
astonish. I see them in 
geometry a welcome language, 
a new alphabet for
prayer and song.
I study Peter Eisenman’s
House 11a
lapping up patterns, interlocking Ls, 
squares and 
replicated rectangles—
the syntax of
ideas. For Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim 
Bilbao, syntax looks like
titanium scales rhyming across curves. Glass 
and limestone 
patterns, similarities of 
visual texture,
are creations of weight, depth; order breaks 
where the lines turn. A cascade 
of repeating elements grounds my belief in 
as mystery. Signs appear: a sound, 
and syllable mean things.
Armadillo! Armadillo! sings my son, 
the youngest,
using his Louis Armstrong
voice; grit gives way to twang and twang turns into hard-rock screams.
He’s an oracle
at four years old, an armor-clad mammal 
his muse.
My oldest son speaks in code, 
echolalia a symptom of a seizure-
besieged brain. When
he utters, No, and No, and No, and 
then I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know, I listen for 
a divine voice revealed.
Cascades changing in scale, not shape, is why I 
trust weight, depth, height-materials and thingness:
Saturn’s rings, the Pacific coastline, bolts of lightning, 
a Romanesco 
cauliflower, angelica flower-
heads, veins
of sycamore leaves, seashells, snowflakes, blood vessels, DNA.
A range and scope of fractals 
inspire awe, a cascade of never-ending 
wonder at both 
connections and aberrations as 
as places of perfect order and broken patterns. When 
I consider what we
may be reduced-sized copies of, I grapple 
with insight;
it hovers in physics and biology, the shapes of letters, 
the magic of new languages,
the mystery of cells and synapses, the music 
of my sons’ voices,
the geometries of buildings and trees.
I glimpse an answer, something like seeing starlight years after 
the star dies, supernovas.
Four hours before my youngest son’s birth, I dreamed 
my sister, dead
31 years, placed him in my arms: Take care of him, she said. He has 
her eyes, ice-blue and illumined by 

Reprinted from The Poet & The Architect (Terrapin Books, 2021). Copyright © 2021 by Christine-Stewart Nunez. Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved.