Published on Academy of American Poets (

My Einsteinicity

Let y equal any number of fathers.
Let x equal the numberless planets.
Let y minus x equal long nights of fog
and let x plus y equal hydra & incubus.

If y is > x, why do all my convictions gape?
If x is > y, does “father” just mean nightcap?
When x ÷ y, we set sail on a windjammer.
When y ÷ x, watch for the banshee, the jinn.

Or let x be replaced by a midsummer night
and y by—well, you can never replace y but
by morning y will lollygag near half-moons:
Odysseus sailing to Ithaca, mildew as it rots.

And a b is no mere theory of relativity: it is
helter-skelter materfamilias, Ma Barker, and
Rebekkah, the mother who deceived. Not
Sarah who couldn’t conceive nor the Mother

of all of Nature: the black tern, the kittiwake;
plants ornamental, baroque; the cumulous,
the nebulosus; and yet, mother-of-pearl and
ice-cold, tiger’s-eye and monkey in the middle.

Let’s say a b is a % of all the love in the world
or synonymous with do you love me now that
I can dance? Let’s agree that a is the salsa or
paso doble and b is always always the beguine.


Copyright © 2021 by Lynne Thompson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 1, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“As an adoptee who never knew her birth father, I continue to be haunted by my unknowing of him. Equally mysterious (and impenetrable) to me are the concepts of mathematics and science. It seems that combining these ignorances addresses my frustration about issues not easily resolved. The turn in the fourth stanza is a way of not letting my birth mother—who inevitably stands in the middle of these meditations—off the hook.”
Lynne Thompson


Lynne Thompson

Lynne Thompson is the author of Fretwork (Marsh Hawk Press, 2019). A recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the City of Los Angeles where she lives, Thompson was appointed the city’s Poet Laureate in 2021.

Date Published: 2021-04-01

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