Tuesday poem: Innumerate

June 3, 2013


Adding up was one thing, boring as thick porridge,
each sum a trial rather than a triumph, but I could
do it, just, stir that numbered pot, when teacher-cook
required us to follow her bland, lumpy recipe.

Once spicy symbols joined the foul stew, however,
I was forever lost. Mathematics was a language
alien to my brain, slipping off unformed synapses
like bald car tyres on slick roads. I crashed out.

I comforted myself with the appearance
of her pimpled acolytes; thick glasses flashing
as they squealed their joy at piggy feasts of number.
I was vegetarian amongst eaters of formulaic flesh.

I still am. My brain is one-sided, and it walks like a sailor
who has lost his wooden leg, but can’t read the compass
to save his limp, to save his salty soul. But so what?
My mathy albatross still stinks — and I’ve sailed different seas.

P.S. Cottier


This poem appeared recently in The Canberra Times. Unfortunately, the first word was inadvertently removed, which made the whole poem a little difficult to understand. I thought I’d post it here in its uncropped form.

For more poetry, press this feather, and read the work of other Tuesday Poets:
Tuesday Poem

4 Responses to “Tuesday poem: Innumerate”

  1. Love it and the pirate!

  2. This had me laughing. Fun metaphor(s)!

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