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Poetry Competition: Anonymous

An Ode to Limits

We bantered down the streets, talking. 

I think I met you 

at a neighborhood gathering out back 

of a stranger’s mansion, your face 

glimpsing up from under your long hair. 

Someone mentioned how you were already in Math 4.

Now, you are a year older and I’m in Math 4,

but we are still on the same streets, still talking, always walking.

We are talking in Chemistry, too, and you are twirling your pen and your hair.

And then, in one of those classes, on all of those streets, someone taught me limits. It was you.

You might think it silly that my math teacher didn’t teach me first, but face

it: you taught me on our way home, on our way back.

You taught, you learned, and then we argued. I argued back.

And I do not know for

what reason your house and my house face

homes just a few blocks from each other, but it is the same reason that clocks keep ticking.

In other words, you

don’t believe there is any reason for our proximate homes or a backyard meeting or for my hair

To be shorter than your hair.

We are in the back

of your mother’s car, and you

are once again astonished at how odd the limit that makes the number e is, and I am asking for

the source of all your knowledge, and suddenly you no longer know. You aren’t speaking.

There’s a pained look when I ask, so I stop asking; after all, I can’t stand that pained face.

I stay in the car with you, on the streets, because the pained face is worth the other face:

the face in the moment you say “oh!” as you have an epiphany. Your hair

flips back and then you shake your pointer finger and resume talking very quickly, as you do. So, then I have to say, “wait, wait, go back,”

not because you’ll say it any differently, but for

me to hear you once again, because only the second time do I truly understand you.

I have yet to meet you.

Not that I haven’t seen your face

one hundred times before.

I have… and I’ve left you at least as many times, seeing your hair

whipping around your head and falling down your back

as you leave. It’s not that we never momentarily stopped and strolled in silence, thinking.

You stayed here at school to wait for me to finish writing, so we could walk together, faking

that we are on our way back

home. We walk together to efface our questions in place of every truth, or even just a hair.


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