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I couldn’t count the tip in my head
so her stare became a constant
across the table and the panic
started to multiply as I factored
the probability of years ahead of
us slowly subtracting by one for
each second that I failed to find
the solution and calculated the
days my grandmother felt unequal
by not remembering the sum total
of her sons and those she loved
greater than and less than herself
and who in turn reciprocated to
balance both sides of the equation
while I figured the difference in
ages between myself and my
grandfather when we first found
the fraction of proof it was he who
forgot to turn off the stove that
nearly burnt down and divided the
house he built for her in half—
the home he squared with
nothing but a formula of one hand
added to the other plus or minus a
whole but irrational and variable mind.


Aaron Sandberg has appeared or is forthcoming in West Trade Review, Sporklet, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Abridged, Unbroken, The Racket, Writers Resist, Neologism, Yes Poetry, perhappened mag, Right Hand Pointing, Monday Night, and elsewhere. He lives and teaches in Illinois. You might find him—though socially-distant—on Instagram @aarondsandberg.

© 2020, Aaron Sandberg

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