Practical Math

by Angie DeCola

Certain details have gone missing—
the letters she used only days ago
to notch and score that name.
The memory of those letters. The memory
of the memory of those letters.

Still more items unlink themselves
from the surface of “what’s important”—
old photographs, maps, both tinted and worn.
Details, minor details.

Heads spin. (Read, “Heads will roll.”)

In the meantime, underneath it all, Ray Price croons.
Tries to soothe and heal, rubs his voice all over you
like lotion into dry, cracked knuckles.

None of it soaks in. All possible solutions
involve too many words, not enough meaning.
There’s not memory enough to make it make sense.

If you think about life in terms of hundreds of days,
today is just a fraction. Go ahead, reduce it.

Angie DeCola is a pastry chef in Durham, North Carolina. Her poems have been published in DIAGRAM, the Iowa Review, and Crazyhorse. Angie is a recipient of the Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband and their little black dog.