Poem: Vectors



by Anne McCrady

At fourteen, I tried to see my life
arrayed in the neat geometrics
Mrs. Gordon laid out in powdery chalk
across the blackboard. Her lines were drawn
against the edge of a wooden yardstick
that became her weapon
when Billy Hicks held us captive
with ninth grade renditions of Elvis
until the slap of it against his desk
snapped us back
into the circle of two-pi-r.
I was not a believer
in closed figures:
circles, squares and rectangles.
Not even straight lines
the shortest distance between
two discreet points
were enough for me, all those
finite endings, mathematically defined
slopes, formulas of x and y.
Already an optimist, I saw the world
as full of vectors: arrows
of infinite direction,
symbols of velocity, possibility, hope,
sets of imaginary coordinates
queuing themselves up
for a journey that could
extend onto every plane
of earth and sky.
I believed that the course
of my life, Billy’s life,
even Mrs. Gordon’s
silly geometry class were drawn
by a laughing God
in zigs and zags,
choices and changes,
a network of existential vectors
shooting off in every direction.


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