Monday, May 29, 2023

(for Sister Martha Vrba, C.D.P.)

From decades of disciplined patience,
this teacher attends to me,
  firm as truth,
  gentle as a bride of Christ,
to render in my dry mind
the lush logics of number,

her chalk,
a white wicce's wand
with which she renders
ethereal abstractions
into star-dusty symbols
to gleam in my benighted sky
briefly, before erasure returns them
to dust whence they come,
but leaving me in acquaintance
with the curious qualities of quantity.

To this mind of messy habit
she teaches tricks of tidy housekeeping
that wash grimy confusion clean
to reveal and revel in principles
enduring as diamonds.

In steady strides,
from lowest common denominators
to greatest common factors,
with deliberate steps,
she triggers a rush of awe,
making in my mind
not quite magic,
but almost music.

December 12, 1989