**DEFINE PI**

It's the ratio of a circle's

circumference to its diameter.

But it's not 3.14.

It does not compute that way.

It goes on and on in decimals

without end.

It is an imaginary number.

It is an infinite number.

It is the number of times

I stabbed Mrs. Donaghy

with my protractor

for failing my quiz.

It is an imaginary number.

It is an infinite number.

But assume I am finished.

Assume my stabbing ends

at 3.14 times

for convenience.

Then go ahead and square it

times the radius

of the half-circle

sticking out of her ribcage.

You can measure the degree

line in blood

when she's not breathing.

It is an imaginary number.

It is an infinite number.

It's not murder in the first degree.

It's murder in pi—

the convenient lie

that nevertheless holds fast

the rule.

**Mike reads "Define Pi":**

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**Mike confesses:**

*"'Define Pi' was written in response to editor Gerald So's challenge to create something crazy for 'Pi Day' (the math joke on the calendar every March 14th (3.14!). I couldn't help but associate it with math tests in high school, and it got me thinking about how the imagination sometimes runs wild when we are under the strain of a test...possibly even turning to thoughts of murder mixed in with all the mathematics. The keyword for me here is the 'infinite' bit—the way the decimal points of pi really go on for infinity (there are even websites dedicated to this weird fact—http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~huberty/math5337/groupe/digits.html—and I know people often take pride in being able to memorize more than the usual three or four places after the decimal point. But what if one imagined a murder ad infinitum? That's what I do as a horror and crime poet, and I'm always defining as much as I'm discovering along the way, so the poem virtually wrote itself."*

**MICHAEL A. ARNZEN**has won four Bram Stoker Awards for his often funny, always disturbing horror fiction and poetry. He teaches full-time in the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, and lives near Pittsburgh with his wife and cats. His award-winning "best of" collection,

*Proverbs for Monsters*, is soon to be re-released by Dark Regions Press in ebook format, and a non-fiction study,

*The Popular Uncanny*, is coming soon from Guide Dog Books, too. To keep up with his madness and receive new weird poetry in your inbox, sign up for The Goreletter at his website, http://gorelets.com.

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