I told Mr. Shannon in eighth grade,
I was going to major in English
and would never use algebra after this.
But once again I’m at my poetry desk,
another word problem, solving for the unknown.
Pythagoras of Samos and of the theorem
may have been one of the first
Greeks to wear trousers instead of skirts.
A universe odd and even, cosmic opposites,
squares and triangles, structure and event.
Suggested by reading Pythagoras’s Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender War by Margaret Wertheim
Did you think “number”? It’s no number.
Without limits. That symbol – a lemniscate – mathematical
turned mystical, which is far better because
the former sounds “knowable” and we know
only that it’s not. We can’t even name it.
(Inspired by Naming Infinity: A True Story of Religious Mysticism and Mathematical Creativity which left me knowing less about infinity and still unable to name it.)