The Calculus of Courage

Courage- for math you need to twist your mind into uncomfortable, beautiful shapes, make it give its thoughts in lace and crystal.

Give it no quarter, make it give you quarters, and eighths, too. Take your mind in your hands, stretch it between your fingertips like a dish rag, ring it out, and make it clean.

Numbers have been taken and sculpted and calcified by their practitioners, so that they mean what they mean. They are mountain peaks. But where it would take a magician of consummate skill to make 1 the same as two, and no always means no, “I’ll call you” can mean so many different things up until you


that you never gave them your number.

So wash it away. Sit down, find your textbook. Let the numbers consume your focus, let them crawl between your hair follicles. Let them bite and tear away the targetless guilt, the anxiety, the inadequacy while you finally focus, only, on them and their purity, their difficult simplicity.

Solve for “I’ll call you” find it equal to nothing. Solve for life, find repeating, meaningless digits. Use your quadratic equation. Solve for you, find grief, find loneliness. Go back to the beginning where you made a simple error. Switch your signs. Find peace, find joy.