Poets for Science
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If X + Y Then Sestina


I urge my students to claim division,
to proselytize geometry proofs—
how really, they read like five-paragraph
essays under the right florescent light—
to know that the function of the domain
is an argument that supports a point.

But they tell me that they see little point.
They embrace the median division,
say the brain’s right side is their true domain.
I want them to show me bisector proof
that they can only think the way a light
bulb is programmed to wattage. Paragraphs

in studies show that even paragraphs
do come from the left: logical, pointed,
linear. As organized as strings of light
around a Scots Pine, making divisions
out of ornamented needles, proof
that holidays are as subject to math’s domain

as their school days. So, too, is the domain
of line and sentence, stanza and paragraph.
They count the words for teachers to approve
what they’ve done; grown, they’ll do the same to point
the way for publishers, mark the divisions
between text and white space, fight for the light

to stand and guide as what it is—light—
both the beginning and end of a domain.
But the box-and-whisper plot is not division;
it is prose built of the paragraphs
that extend like the senses and point
to no outliers, a visual proof

they can also dance, smudge with charcoal, proof
that shadows grow to exist on the light
medium of stage or canvas. The point
being that double angles, in the domain
of definition, identify. The graph
of an inequality will divide

intelligence if the points are used as proof,
but divisions can turn into non-binary lights
with aleph null domains dictated by paragraphs.