I don’t remember at what point

I started treating poetry a little like Math.

The thing is, I was never particularly good at either.

(*Does that mean something?*)

* *

I burn hours away to

calculate the circumference of each word

fo fit this

elementary

problem of a poem;

Maybe that way I’ll always arrive

at the right – *right* – right answer.

I try to measure the perfect line—

Tracing parallels upon

my metaphorical ruler;

Eliminating the excess;

Sculpting my stanzas into equations

just so I can solve for the perfect words

where:

*x* equals need

*y* equals beauty

*z* equals feeling

**(ERROR)**

Have you got the answer yet?

I haven’t.

Man, this question – sorry – poem(?)

is proving a little tougher than I thought.

Shoot.

Let’s try again. Okay:

Find the angle between

that perfect

line break

and your need

to feel like you’ve been changed

by the way I bracket words together

sieved out of my

limited,

leaking,

disintegrating library.

Do I solve for the proof between your

blessing

and my need to satisfy?

Ah crap.

Where’s the formula to subtract fear

and insecurity away when I need it?

Remind me again—

how do I multiply pleasure

by public approval

in order to maximise self-esteem?

It seems that I’ve forgotten.

*Viency Lee is a book editor at an independent Singaporean publishing house. Her work tends to engage with the fantastical. She also hosts a podcast about Singaporean comics sometimes.*