from [NUMERACY] by Catherine Imbriglio


Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are
talking about, not whether what we are saying is true.
Bertrand Russell


Come full circus, we had to live our numbers. I lost my trapezoidal balance millions of times. The line judges sat back and displayed the losing figures. I looked ashamed except that shame doesn’t describe the foggy happenstance steaming up inside. The point is the point when you undergo a surgery like sine and cosine. I’m writing because we don’t have a millennium to solve the stone problem. Just as nonplussed has an opposite set of meanings, if this were an equation, I would come out as a loony parabola. Public serpents have been designed to wipe the sleep out of our eyes. As the hand that feeds us also bites us, we are always on the verge of losing to forensic dentistry. My attendant ghost found in number 46 a perfect place to hide.

Catherine Imbriglio is the author of two books of poetry, Parts of the Mass (Burning Deck, 2007), which received the 2008 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and Intimacy (Center for Literary Publishing, 2013), which received the 2013 Colorado Prize in Poetry. She teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown University.