Recently my poet-friend, Millicent Borges Accardi, sent me a copy of her latest book, Only More So (Salmon Poetry, 2016). She mentioned a poem entitled "The Night of Broken Glass" for its mathematics -- indeed it includes several numbers as it movingly describes attempts at normalcy amid the horrors of urban attack; and it ends with this stanza :
The essential business of living well
Continues in shock waves
That fall into the ground of innocent
People, triggered inside a soul
Of nothingness that pretended
To solve an impossible equation.
My favorite poem in Accardi's collection is "Amazing Grace" which I give you below. It is a poem that, like an intriguing piece of mathematics, I have read, and read again, and again . .. each time getting more meaning than the time before.
For me, one of the similarities of poetry and math is their density, the need for several readings -- for reading both aloud and silently, for reading with pencil and paper for note-taking, for reading in the library and at the kitchen table, sitting or standing.
Amazing Grace by Millicent Borges Accardi
I'm shopping for Halloween candy
and back to school clothes with my dead
mother. She's telling me what do do. We
consider the price of a green coat with
a gray fake fur collar that fits me perfectly.
You already have too many
coats, she says, drifting off to the plastic
jack o' lanterns.
We both have to go
to the bathroom and the world
of the working seems instantly
thirsty. I report or try to report back
to the office, having taken
A two hour lunch. I think of the
nature of that coat I didn't buy.
It fit me perfectly, and I just knew it would
have lasted me her lifetime.
Another Accardi poem, "The Story of the Ten Blackbirds," is posted here. Thanks, Millicent, for your poems.