Joan Mazza

Rule of Three

You can survive three minutes in freezing water,
three minutes without air, three hours in a harsh
environment, three days without water, three
weeks without food. You have three seconds

to make a decision in an emergency. You can tolerate
three days without spirit and hope, three months
without companionship and love. Threesomes.
Three events make a pattern. Odd numbers

in designs please more than even. Three little
pigs. Three coins in the fountain. Triangles
are more stable than rectangles. Three stooges,
three musketeers, three blind mice, three Marys.

Three strikes and you’re out. Three-card monte,
past-present-future, holy trinity, three-date rule.
Three divorces tell you to quit marrying. Expect
three pandemic waves across three years.

Joan Mazza                            

Joan Mazza worked as a microbiologist and psychotherapist, and taught workshops on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam). Her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Adanna Literary Journal, Poet Lore, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia.