Carol Lipszyc

In Mild Praise of Fractions

Spools of odd and even numbers knot
tightly around my fingers.
Fractions like hieroglyphs
people the tethered pages
of my grade school days.

At the hub of our long-winded kitchen,
turquoise table on a checkerboard
floor. Mother slices red apples on a pine wood
board: “How many quarters,”
she quizzes, “make up one apple?”

I stare blankly till the apple browns,
its juice runs dry.

“Four,” baby sister chimes,
moon on her left,
sun on her right.
“Each slice is one-quarter.”

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