Friday, November 11, 2011

Upon Reading a Math Book Late at Night

Halfway into dawn
when the line between light and dark
hovers before plunging into day
I know my odds are determined by happenstance.
Unlike numbers
I live in the vicinity of coincidence

Page after page patterns,
letters wordless in their equations
emerge as symbols.

Knowing nine decomposes
into one plus three plus five,
knowing how many odd numbers
are needed for a given square number
lends order.
There is no room for chance.

On page thirty-four the equation
cy + dx = cd characterizes
the ‘lineness’ of a line,
capturing the essence
like a line of poetry
unskeins and translates love.

Absorbed by questions of position and space
I read of a Greek mathematician
who grappled with
a pyramid’s volume.

He approximated a stack of tapered square plates,
seeking volume as if he could hold
formlessness with linear markings.

I kick the imagined plates,
skewing a pyramid off-center
and compose an epilogue
to Egyptian laborers dragging stones.

Poetic Asides
"poem involving math and/or numbers"

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