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  You could have a big dipper   

Triangles by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

On his hands and knees,

my father confronted

the bane of his existence

each weekend

with the switchblade

he confiscated while

teaching junior high

in the desert; evidence

not of a crime but of

his own acuity for noticing

concealed weapons, as if he had

to be reminded—he was

denied tenure at that job—

while emancipating

the lawn from its demons.

The blade slipped

beneath the roots,

catapulted nub

and infrastructure like

so much fish, the kind

my mother said she lived with

in Japan; a country

that smelled of them,

islands of death,

though my father’s domain

teemed with ladybugs, snails,

gophers, other intruders

my sister and I encouraged.

Though he cut around

the weeds, their exorcism

left triangle-shaped scars

in the dirt, the type you get

picking pimples off your skin;

how he went wild

with judgment whenever

our mother sat before

a mirror, mining her face

to reveal scabs and scoring

on her visage. I might

have studied triangles

in school—Sin, Cosine, Tangent--

though I dropped the class

because it made no sense:

trajectory, angle, expanse

somehow more efficient

than lines, circles, or arithmetic.

When my daughter explained

the real-world applications

of all this, I felt like

I got it. In real time, however,

my father was livid,

how would I ever amount

to anything without a solid

background in these metrics.


Jane Rosenberg LaForge writes poetry, fiction, and occasional essays from her home in New York. She is the author of a memoir, two novels, three full-length poetry collections, and four chapbooks. You can find her on Twitter @JaneRLaForge, or on Facebook at

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