Alien Pointillism by Mary Soon Lee
August 2023 | Utopia Science Fiction Magazine
A cathedral, we thought at first,
entering that vast hushed hall,
tiered benches ranged in rings
round an empty center.
Our guide sat, facing outward,
gazing at the stained glass:
great windows engraved with dots,
those dots painted in gaudy show.
Purple, red, blue, green, gold.
No pattern, no picture, no purpose
that we could spot, just dots,
a slapdash display of color.
Underwhelmed, we sat by the guide,
our silence answering theirs,
until, outside, clouds cleared,
and the guide said, “Behold pi.”
Sunlight glowed through glass —
purple, red, blue, green, gold —
the digits of pi in base five,
that numinous purity of numbers.
Originally published in the August 2023 issue of Utopia Science Fiction Magazine.
Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. Her latest book is “The Sign of the Dragon,” an epic fantasy told in poems, winner of the 2021 Elgin Award. She hides her online presence with a cryptically named website (marysoonlee.com) and an equally cryptic Twitter account (@MarySoonLee)