Add It Up
Facing the Seahorse Conundrum,
Alexandra scratches the final digits of
her calculations across the blackboard.
The proposition of a simple
one plus one flies in the
face of recorded behavior.
Lock two spouses in a sealed
chamber and they will still
find a way to cheat each other.
The problem originates with the dream of
self-fulfillment, which is never, ever
achieved solely by the addition of the other.
The consequent disillusionment spurs our
wayward steps, fueled by hope, anticipation,
and the next pair of suntanned
legs that trip our radar.
If x + y doesn’t work,
perhaps x + y + z will.
But the trio never holds,
because y begins to believe
that z will succeed
where x has failed.
Perhaps someday the framework of
monogamy will fade like a red dwarf,
and another paradigm will take its place:
simultaneous partnerships in the
distinct areas of sex, parenting and
companionship, a tripart network of
support arranged by computer algorithms.
Dinner and sex with Gunther.
Stan drives the kids to school.
A lunchtime chat with Javier.
If only she could set it all
down in mathematical terms.
Alexandra’s phone plays an
excerpt from the Goldberg Variations.
Martin has sent her a periwinkle,
purple radiant in a bed of ivy.
The numbers fade.
Her head fills with air.
From the collection Fields of Satchmo
Photo by MJV