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Ode to Mathematics

The integer is a beautiful concept.
After zero’s empty mouth,

1’s declarative stance,
the seduction of 2, the promise

of 3—whole numbers,
the totality of individuals

separated by infinite divisions.
Yet e always strikes a chord with me,

the base of natural logs,
transcendental constant always

approaching infinity, always limited
by its function, as we all are,

less famous than π, but just as irrational.
Each day is a limited sequence

that transcends the algebraic simplicity
of the golden ratio: the spiraled conch shell,

Da Vinci’s De Divina Proportione,
the equation of the human form,

the mathematics of 32 teeth inlaid
in a single mouth whose function

is argument and the assignment
of value to particular domains—

young and old, rich and poor,
simple or complex.

by Jake Young

Fjords Reviews Artists - Jake Young Jake Young

Jake Young lives in Santa Cruz, California, and received his MFA from North Carolina State University. His most recent work appears or is forthcoming in Miramar, PANK, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, and the 2014 Voices Israel annual poetry anthology. Jake is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators, and he writes about food, wine and culture on his blog True Terroir: A Wine Blog. This spring he attended the 2014 Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Jake is also the poetry editor for the Chicago Quarterly Review.


Work for Monthly Verse is selected through our editorial process. New poems are selected from authors that submitted work for the last issue. Read more authors by subscribing to Fjords.