Friday, September 18, 2020

What is x?

     This thoughtful poem by versatile poet Mary Peelen appeared in the Winter, 2016 issue of The Massachusetts Review.   

       Variable     by Mary Peelen 

       The x could have been
       anything at all,

       the sound of wind chimes,
       a gong, a choir, a cantor,

       a mermaid, a schoolmarm,
       cathedral bells.

       Instead—what a lark—
       it’s laughter. 

       The man who sits
       in the park across the street

       has habits of hilarity
       disciplined as a cleric,

       ha exhaled in eight pulses,
       stress on the third and fifth,

        never the slightest flux
        in rhythm, volume, or pitch.

       His breath orders the world
       into countable sets,

       number expressed as a verb.
       It calls her back. 

Scientist-poet Mary Peelen lives in San Francisco and Paris and has an amazing list of accomplishments.  I first met her in an 2019 interview of by mathematician-poet-teacher-editor Gizem Karaali in The Adroit Journal.

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