Jack Stewart

Wandering into the Math Classroom


                   for Neil


An equation's still on the board,

square roots, division in so many rows

it looks like blueprints for cliff dwellings,

something the Anasazi built and left

without explanation, water spirals,

sun daggers and zigzags.

I cannot read these lines, but marvel

at their mystery, pleased that someone knows

and writes them down, repeats the scribal

calligraphy so they will not die.

A friend once told me a proof was beautiful,

and I had to take on faith the rhythm

was graceful, the narrative gathered

to a finish packed with drama

and desire. And though I've never had

the interest or energy to learn that language,


it thrills me to imagine another inflection

courting inflection, the romance justified.

How another man also believes

that at some point, in some way, we will

find the words to invoke salvation.

Jack Stewart was educated at the University of Alabama and Emory University. From 1992-95 he was a Brittain Fellow at The Georgia Institute of Technology. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The American Literary Review, The Southern Humanities Review, and other journals and anthologies, most recently in The South Carolina Review.



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