Soaked in Paint

As I sit, soaked in paint

dripping on the office chairs

I think about how I got here

If it hadn’t been for that math problem


See, they called me from the room

told me, you’ve been checked out, you’re leaving early

but I had been in the middle

of that math problem


Stuffed papers back in folders

got my notebooks tucked away

but that math problem

kept lingering


I’d been about to square root

both sides of the equation

and then, of course, the intercom

interrupted all my thoughts


But that math problem couldn’t be

put away like my binder

It dawdled in my brain

saying here I am, now solve me!

but I don’t have time, I have to go


It shoved itself from memory

in front of my eyes,

triumphant, now you have to solve me!

So I wandered down the hall

moving numbers in my mind


And I didn’t see the ladder

the real life ladder hidden by imaginary numbers

set up beside the mural


And the equation screeched at me,

you’ve almost got x equals!

So I took a spin, a trip, smacked

right into that ladder


Mayday, Mayday - the person at the top - but

they were saved.

The paint was not.

Twin streams of yellow and red

spattered down like Martian rain

washing the equation from my eyes


As I stood sputtering and spitting

trying to stammer my apologies

through the paint dripping down my face

the math problem laughed, saying, too late,

and I squelched off to the office

leaving orange footprints behind me.


And of course the lady behind

the desk - oh my goodness, are you ok?

and the principal - what happened?

and the counselor - may I offer you a napkin?

all gawked and stared

at my stiffly drying hair.


It was math, I said, by way of explanation

and sat down squishily on the office chair

And so I sat, dripping paint

because that little x equals

couldn’t leave me alone.



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