Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Word Problems: Subtraction

Nicholas weighs 6 pounds—

“Who’s Nicholas?” she asks. “Why is he so small? Is he a baby? That’s small for a baby. I weighed more than that when I was born, and everyone said I was a small baby.”

She stares out the classroom window. Her attention seems to lengthen the further it wanders from the sheet of word problems on her desk.

The girl weighs 98 pounds. The bird outside the window weighs almost nothing. The wind ruffles its black feathers.

“I can’t stop looking at it,” she says.

See how the wind tosses the branches of the tree, and how the bird holds on, and even opens its beak to sing.

I may not be the best person to tutor her in math. I also would rather sit and watch the black birds in the tree outside the window. Now there are two birds, now one bird, and now that bird is gone.

“I can’t stop looking at the place where it used to be,” she says.

1 comment:

Hannah Stoneham said...

Very good and interesting to read - although it did remind me of a funny incident in "Our Spoons Came from Woolworths" a novel by Barbara Comyns in which a child's weight is accidentally given in ounces instead of pounds...

Thanks for sharing


New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .