Numbers

— Dennis Richardson

In the real world,
As in the Real number system,
There are the Rationals and the Irrationals:
Those numbers that follow the rules set by time,
March in formations of fractions and decimals,
Salute equations and formulas in the mathematics parade,
And then the other ones, the ones that refuse to be square,
Go on and on about the roots of their problems,
Make it difficult to get a finite answer
When you really need one.

Enter the complex world,
And the Complex number system
Consisting of the Real and Imaginary numbers
Where mathematicians have created the benign number “i”
Which allows them to do mysterious things
Like take the square root of a negative number,
Not allowed in the Reals
But apparently, like poets, occur naturally in our universe,
Nonetheless.

Since time began and numbers started counting,
mathematics, being somehow wed to the universe,
spirals through our star studded galaxies and into our lives
where, like variables in an algorithm, we go on our half-walks,
between the limits of birth and death,
toward another infinity, possibly with strings attached,
hoping against hope that our poems will be remembered,
in spite of the numbers
against us.

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