I am a poet; I am not a mathematician.
I wish I were, but I am not.
You are proofing a theorem. And I pop in.
Can I do something for you you say,
not looking up. Hmm, I say, to the back
of your head, not really and watch the ferocious
pencil traipse across paper. 56 is written at the corner
of the sheet, the first 55 tidy on a pile. So, I leave.
Days pass by. I pop back in. The proof is still
going. So, I leave. Days pass by. I pop back in. The
proof is finished. And bound, the last page on the top.
And me… I write down a thought about
conversations. Then another about ships.
Another of lies. Soon there is a whole page
of lines that don’t cohere: entrails of events,
muslin of feather-rain, shape of mystery.
Days pass by. The floor is strewn with many more
pages. Yet, nothing still. I go for a walk
down the street, go home, in a rush, begin and finish off
a poem about cellar stairs — not seen anywhere
in the mess of notes. I call it Conversations.
Your proof has been sent off for peer review; it
says: 302; Start from the back.