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
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
x equals need
y equals beauty
z equals feeling
Have you got the answer yet?
Man, this question – sorry – poem(?)
is proving a little tougher than I thought.
Let’s try again. Okay:
Find the angle between
and your need
to feel like you’ve been changed
by the way I bracket words together
sieved out of my
Do I solve for the proof between your
and my need to satisfy?
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.