Margin // Shakthi Shrima

I have discovered a truly marvelous proof, which this margin is too narrow to contain.
-- the mathematician Pierre de Fermat, in his copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica

The platform tilts us onto its tongue, wets us with
theorems of light, a film of honey trembling in backward shafts
to its axiom, to the place
all the train-tracks wind in a mirage of convergence,
like vessels flush with the afternoon shunted
onto the evening. We sit, fingers stretched
toward the unstripped certainties of each rail, wait for six o’clock.
I have a recurring dream where it’s only five fifty-eight
when the train lurches to life, and the axioms spread their arms
wide in welcome. Sometimes I’m the blind man stumbling
after the train, each steam huff
a newly mimed factor of too late. Sometimes the deaf man
tripped by the pores of the sound. Sometimes the shuddering man
rehearsing unsaid lemmas into the pale V of his wrists in the traincar
as he wonders if transit could be a home. Soon I’m alone,


Shakthi Shrima has been restless with words ever since she could read. When she isn’t doing math, rereading Nabokov, or writing, she can be found behind her camera, drinking coffee, or humming at obnoxious volumes. Her favorite poets are Mark Doty and Neil Aitken. She will probably cry if she doesn’t get to be an algebraic number theorist, and currently resides in Austin, Texas with her Dracaena braunii, Aristotle.