For Maryam Mirzakhani
There’s a way out of this landscape.
It may take lifetimes. Beyond death’s
singularity, others will find a path – slow
and persistent as a tortoise, or agile
as an ape that leaps past low-
hanging fruit on hollow banyan
trees. Here flowers have flat
petals but the ground swoops
unexpectedly, dips and tilts and roller-
coasters round into itself; dragonflies
grow double wings and on
the high plateau, balls glide
across the baize, reflecting off,
or through, mirrors that line
its bounds. Arrowed streams
are split by sudden strike-
slip shifts, while filaments
like wisps of spider’s thread are
edges from another space,
or doodles in our own.
Is this a torus after all,
on which to vanish and return?
*Maryam Mirzakhani (1977 – 2017) was the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, one of mathematics’ highest honours, for ‘outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces’.
‘Geodesic’ first appeared in Allegro Poetry Issue 19, December 2018.