Trouble with Word Problems by Deanna Nikaido
Once asked to solve the arrival time of two trains
traveling at different speeds
toward the same destination—I failed.
Mathlexia my friend said.
But sitting in either of those two trains
staring out the window
I knew time was at the center of all my arrivals
and that distance was not linear.
I couldn’t solve circumference by its formula
given the radius or
find the hypotenuse of a triangle
given the values for a and b.
There were not enough words.
No one explained to me
that pi was a swirling river or that
fibonacci sang inside the invisible bones of trees
I sat in to untangle myself.
At fourteen I started speaking in poems
solving my own equation.
My answers radiating from
a heart I could not prove
knowing the distance
between any two lives
traveling toward the same stillness
Nikaido's poem is one of more than five dozen mathy poems available in the anthology, Bridges 2016 Poetry Anthology -- a must-have collection whose cover is this fractal artwork by Robert Fathauer.
|Iterated fractal curve by Robert Fathauer|