Found at Poets.org, this poem by Brenda Cárdenas that, like too many others portrays a girl in a can't do-math situation. Another aspect of the poem, however, is its Spanish-language descriptions of Hispanic contributions to mathematics. And, despite my protest, I find this a lovely poem and worth sharing.
Calculations by Brenda Cárdenas
“I don’t know what to tell you.
Your daughter doesn’t understand
math. Numbers trouble her, leave
her stuck on ground zero.”
Y fueron los mayas
quienes imaginaron el cero,
un signo para nada, para todo,
en sus gran calculaciones.
Is zero the velvet swoop into dream,
the loop into plumes of our breath?
“I suggest you encourage languages.
Already she knows a little Spanish,
and you can teach her more of that.
She lives for story time.”
In the beginning there was nothing.
Then the green of quetzal wings.
Las historias siguen cambiando,
sus verdades vigorizadas
con cada narración
como X x X = X²
This poem is included in Cárdenas' collection Boomerang (Bilingual Press, 2009). Translations of the Spanish stanzas are offered below, obtained at this website: http://www.spanishdict.com/translation
And it was the Maya
who imagined the zero,
a sign for nothing, for everything,
in their great calculations.
Stories keep changing,
their energized truths
with each narration
as X x X = X²