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*