She tries so hard to pierce
the calligraphic function
but the complex income multiplier
slips her grip like quicksilver.
Something in her puzzled brow
registers the fathoms
of distant algebraic
geography between us.
I pry my way inside her eyes
and trace her halting footprints.
A dozen labyrinthine detours later
we cannot issue from the maze intact.
We break and chat of soccer strategy.
Suddenly the sunlight flashes--
the formula transfigured
incarnate on a playbook blackboard
in the mystic alchemy
between brain and bone,
and the center forward
manipulates the numbers
with aplomb to my surprise.
Jerome L. McElroy
*Accepted in Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry (April 2011).