108 By JOEL DIAS-PORTER THE AL KHWARIZMI IN YOU Wonders if there’s an algebra for all of it: for the moon’s midnight calculus, for how windmills behind the casino turn their giant exes into late night whys, for how the tide rises with an asymptotic longing. Even for the arc of a brand new table tennis paddle that your sweaty hand now grips or the velocity of the balls (larger than they’ve ever been) spinning across the net between your namesake and your imagination. Where he, still a baby burps and sighs asleep in a crib. The trajectory seeming derivative, almost always of desire. Two Greek letters on different sides of an equation, each ciphering the other, each signifying an absence by their italicised presence. Daddy, Daddy, don’t you know I miss you, his sigh says. He rests his head on the hollow of your chest. Asks when are you coming back? A gulf with no echoes. As he whispered to you once, his lips are an empty set now. Two brackets attempting an embrace because kisses, however long ago, count and multiply in the abacus of memory. Is there an algebra for all of it? What you’ve done with the days since you left, what you tried to do, or might have tried, had you correctly solved for all the variables, if you had a slope to graph, a slide to rule them. If the days didn’t dance to their own algorithm. Is there an algebra for all of it, the floating function of the seagulls, the breaking but unbroken waves, the ghostly geometry of the foam’s fathering? For how two pairs of footprints, now non-linear, could solve how much sand drifts between them?