Underwater Algebra By William Doreski

Underwater Algebra By William Doreski

When the lakes have frozen over,
equations smoke from the mud
and tickle the fancy of trout.

You didn’t know that algebra
occurs organically when leaf
debris rots on the bottoms

of lakes deep enough to care
about the future unevolved.
You didn’t know that fish, being

natural mathematicians, delve
into problems even atomic
computers belch out unsolved.

December’s brief afternoons flicker
as I tense my scrawny muscles
against sudden onset despair.

You ignore indulgent symptoms
by toting firewood to flatter
the cats cuddled at the woodstove

with tails entwined and twitching.
You ignore my assertion that deep
in the region’s lakes the fish

outthink us in primary colors
we rarely see in the winter
because our shadows occlude us.

Meanwhile the plaiting of distance
warps the dying sky by shaping
ecstasies too remote for us,

and the ice reflecting that pleasure
isn’t thick enough to support us
no matter how gently we step.


William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (Splash of Red, 2018).

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