Like all mathematicians,
my father’s sense of timing
was average at his best
and mostly rather absent.

He emigrated in his prime,
with all his chickens counted —
they had no chance to hatch before
he left the single market.

Vast sums in Euro Sterling
were always on his mind;
the only trouble was
it never did quite add.

I joined him on the lime-washed shores,
where other famous daughters
had paved the way for our world,
programming primal software.

He raised me mainly from the couch,
tuned to old Hollywood,
rolling another skinny joint
that smelled so much like fish food.

His throat would often hesitate
about which tongue to use,
he choked on tasteless consonants,
wrestled with double-us.

Mouth full of English muffin,
he mourned bygone focaccia,
a mist of foreign crumbs of dough
forever spraying sideways.

He told me that these baked goods,
bland without Worcester sauce,
have risen five percentage points
since nineteen ninety four.

The passing years have made it clear
that immigration bored him
he once confessed to me he was
tired of long division.

Whether his mind was really there,
I sometimes couldn’t tell;
extremes of Gulf Stream temperatures
a measure of his world.

His greatest feat was surely that
of brave ongoing counting
on a good fortune never known,
his face soft as a dumpling.


Many years later I recall
the taste of English muffin;
I try to ring a hotline
to ease a sudden longing.

But the sheer cost of help
is just too much to bear;
I opt instead for bubble wrap
and shell pistachio nuts.

I’ve been abroad for long enough
to see in emigration
not just an error of my ways
but pure logical failure.

Do sheep have lashes father,
I’m asking Fibonacci;
don’t worry over things like this,
go back to your pistachios.

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