Terese Svoboda


If the rope is pulled in at a rate of one meter per second, how fast is the boat approaching the dock when it is eight meters away? —Calculus II

                                    (the queen alpha-
            bigger than sin
or co-
sine     the angle ever
                        on the swept boat
                        of and often by chance
(let the parens parade: the stuff
            of oppression of
[the sphere of the numbered  the spherical divide]

                        looks okay)
            the swept boat's detritus in her hand
(cracked heirloom bloody bat upchuck of lunch on a wrapper)
                        the queen spent and burnt
            (music of the spheres playing Chopsticks)
            [not getting any smarter]
in so doing
in legalese and barking Pekinese
                                                for the queen has her pets
is depleted   every comma
                                    up for scrutiny
every word her retinue (There they are!)
       unvetted [how numbers go bad]
                        the pets are howling (the queen can't sleep)
     the boat finds no thoroughfare          no andante

the queen, down on her haunches,
                                                sines an event:
                                                all her life bisected, all her life incident,
                                                the angle off 40 degrees.
the cheerful cheering
she did under ovation
[the important ovulation]
            (It's about as fairy-built as a bottle
                        blown from glass)
she shatters at term,
boat to dock.








Interest in the word "asymptote" lead to the poem, which I see didn't make it.