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Math

                                    Elizabeth Breen


God help me, I have tried to forget
everything I ever learned about you.
You were one tricky son of a bitch. And yet
at dinner, when someone asked who knew

you, I thought of symmetry, your angles.
Sweet parabolas, how your lines
once undid me, slipped in and untangled
the knot my young heart designed

for itself. But you kept going when I said
stop. Calculus, that cold screw of reason;
it hurt with a precision so sharp it divided dread
like fat from the bone, numbers then a season

grown stale. So this evening when we split
the check I lied, said Oh I was never any good
at you. But I was. I knew you well once. I admit
that most days—when I subtract where you stood—

I am alone. Like now, sitting on this roof
listening to the city sirens ride the pollution
in their waves of trigonometry, proof—
you said—every equation has a solution.


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