Geometry and Other Tragedies

by Shyla Shehan
I’m easily a square 
but could draw myself 
as a spiral. I could pretend 
to be a straight line or paint my life 
as an isosceles triangle 
in perpetual motion. As it spins faster 
sharp points of its acute angles
blur into circles—a border
between myself and the outside world. 

If I was reborn as a star
would I have four points or five? 
Or Six!? Would I be a better poet 
if I was a broken heart 
or the zig-zag white space 
between two separate halves?

Hearts don’t ever break in half. 
It’s never an equitable split. 
Most shatter into fragments
like a round dinner dish 
dropped on accident. 
Most broken hearts are accidental
and there aren’t any answers
between the zig-zag questions 
of when and where and why.

Just possible explanations 
plausible deniability
revisionist history 
and other algebraic abstractions
I haven’t been able to master.
Must be a chapter 
I haven’t gotten to yet.

I’ve spent so much time 
with my face on the floor 
admiring the rug’s topography
because of gravity.
I’ve spent so much effort 
enduring air travel 
to escape its pulse and pull.

So much unwinding 
mechanics of mathematics 
that define spacetime 
and gravity 
just so I can move on 
to algebra too. 

I’ve given so much but no matter 
what shape I am today
it’s never enough.

About the author:

Shyla Shehan is an analytical Virgo who rewrites her bio on a weekly basis. Her most noteworthy accomplishment to date is divorcing her (now former) career as a Healthcare IT Integration Specialist. Since then, she has pledged her undying love and fealty to Poetry but has so far refused to get matching tattoos. Shyla spends most days tending to a healthy household and is currently cultivating the largest golden pothos in captivity. Her full bio and an account of her published work are available at

Header photo by Kacper Szczechla on Unsplash