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And in the outer world, the first, something smooth and wet. An X skims across the tops of the crests in a succession of skips. The longest holds its space in the air, pauses, then descends into what is a cool sleep.
X and all the faces of backlit animals gaze downward at you. Their curious engulfed silhouettes. A spasm of radio and the accident of understanding what it means to be X. What it means to be held and kissed and gibbered to as though you were something cast away and suddenly, miraculously, returned.
"'Solve for X' is part of a sequence of poems about my son who's on the autistic spectrum. I've been attempting to understand the way he perceives the world and I've been using cause and effect models as poetic templates. Word problems requiring the mathematician to solve for an unknown, thus, have become a metaphor for how we negotiate our relationship as father and son." —Oliver de la Paz
Oliver de la Paz is the author of Post Subject: A Fable (University of Akron Press, 2014). He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and lives in Holden, Massachusetts.
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