you are standing at the ocean,

in the moon’s empirical light

each mercurial wave

 

like a parabola shifting on its axis,

the sea’s dunes differentiated & graphed.

If this, then that. The poet

 

laughs. She wants to lie

in her own equation, the point slope

like a woman whispering stay me

 

with flagons. What is it to know the absolute value

of negative grace, to calculate

how the heart becomes the empty set

 

unintersectable, the first & the last?

But enough.

You are standing on the shore,

 

the parameters like wooden stakes.

Let x be the moon like a notary.

Let y be all things left unsaid.

 

Let the constant be the gold earth

waiting to envelop what remains,

the sieves of the lungs like two cones.

 

— Amy Quan Barry