Reviewing Geometry for the GRE: First Lesson

As if you could find exactly
the base of a triangle–
one long, unsure line.

I am looking for an exit
sign pointing, pointing, pointing.
Outside that red door

wilts confused leaves.
You say there’s a way
to quantify this? That

equations explain everything?
It’s 30 degrees today,
90 yesterday.

What’s autumn’s angle?
A 180-degree spin.
Math. I don’t trust it.

How Catholic school
assured me the trinity
would save me.

I’ll learn whatever
to warm myself.

 

(originally published in petrichor, Spring 2018)

Canton Central Catholic

My high school was ninety-nine percent white
classmates without filter said you’re a bit off-kilter
what are you I mean what are you I mean
all I am is me my whole life everything I know
half-Filipino half-West Virginian so you mean
like half-Asian half-hick I mean like basically
I don’t have the ear for Appalachia and must
be good at math and I said neither they said
solve this solve this these equations flicked
into my ear shoved into my eyes but my
coping mech was laughter
is there another term for that?

 

(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Winter 2018)

Band Room

there are many instruments that we are
and many more we are not

such as we are sometimes saxophones
who have not memorized love songs

but we have eyes to read the sheets
lips to blow into trumpets tubas

muscles to crash cymbals
pound the bass drum at night

we remain off-tune no matter time of day
arcs of trombone waves flute trills rainbows

the inhaled swampy atmosphere
of slide-lube and falling domino fingers

down the rigid clarinet air
melodic staccatos of sixteenth-notes

every piece celestas
on wet reed floor

the band room holds its breath
waits for us to play something

 

(originally published in Beech Street Review, Fall 2016)