The Foreign Math Language

A foreign language of numbers and symbols
Glare mockingly as I try to cope. Examples
Complicate the code presented on the board.

Mental gears desperately in need of oil
Grind slowly in an attempt to soak in
All the drawn out explanations. Basic

Problems are assigned to further register
The abstract ideas addressed, but the internal
Cogs and wheels refuse to spin.

“Why can’t I get this? Why is the answer
One half and not simply five tenths?” Despair
Floods my mind as I move to the next problem.

Eyes moving from the board to the book,
Thoughts tumbling and twisting—
Acceptance is the only answer:

These concepts known as fractions
Confound my slow brain. I only hope
The teacher sees these feeble attempts

Are my best efforts, since upstairs
Half the lights refuse to shine, refuse
To make room for this new information.

I meant for this to be my closing poem to the month of May, but unfortunately I didn’t finish it in time. Even though it is no longer May, I want to say this: this poem is supposed to reflect another aspect of a kid having a stroke. Things like math turn into gibberish or an impossible foreign language. This is true also true for some adults, but of course for a kid who must learn the information or fail the class, the pressure is higher. Anyway, before I really start rambling on and on and go on random tangents, if you would like to know where you can find information on childhood stroke, here are some websites you can go to: national stroke association or stroke in children. Or you could go to my post on the statistics of pediatric stroke which I posted on May 6th.

Impenetrable Wall Unlocked With The Turn Of A Key

From far away I hear an adult
Announce the winners
Bodies jumping and arms encircle
As Team Fastest rejoices
One by one the losing teams
Each congratulate the landslide winners.

Out of the corner of my eye
A hideous face glares
Daggers at me.

“You’re a failure,”
A voice whispers
From the depths
Of my mind.

I battle myself;
A fight unknown
To those around me
As the floodgates
Threaten to fail.
By shear will power
The gates remain close
But just barely.

Only when finally
Within my safe house:
My bedroom
Behind closed blinds
And an unlit lamp
Fetal positioned
Back to the wall
Do I fling open
The reservoir gates.

Arms wrapped around my knees
Back and forth I sway
All the while
Stifling any sound
Of my anguish
For fear of being
Shut up by those
Who only say they understand
Where I’m coming from,
“It’ll be alright…”
Trying to listen
But not with both ears.
I fear the attempts
Which might be made
To understand
Despite the unspoken reality:
There is only one
Whose differences she carries around
Every waking moment
Every day without end
Since encountering those unlike her
And realizing she’s the odd one out
The weirdo who was born to be such
In a world that separates the normal
From those that aren’t.

Invisibly built
Impenetrable Great Wall
Against those all around
Guards this girl’s fragile heart
As she, apart from her growing body
Stays pressed against that wall
Wailing, sniffling and distrusting
Kind words, conversational interactions
Whose intent has no mean underside.
Unsure of the water’s safeness
And too frightened to test the temperature
Against her wall she stays
Until the key within her hands
She uses to lock that past which
Holds her back.

This is the final part to my story. If you read this poem first, I would recommend reading these poems in this order also to get the full picture of what happened: Facade Friendship, Setup For The Truth, and Sprinting Toward A Lost Cause.

Thank you for reading. I hope everyone’s Sunday is going alright so far.


Sprinting Toward a Lost Cause

Building a levee
To hold back
The floodwaters
Threatening to inundate
My body, I muster the strength
To keep control.


Only moments from my D-Day
I place upon my face
The mask of determination.


Just one person before my turn,
I steal a glance to my left:
The winning team second to last in line.


Forward facing yet again
The baton is handed over to me.
Plunging the sponge in then,
Launching it out,
I pump my arms
Pushing my body
To move faster,
Run harder.

At the water bucket
Wringing out every last drop
Before sprinting
Back to my waiting team
Yelling, screaming to get a move on

Halfway between
End goal and the half full bucket
Happiness erupts
From somewhere down
The line of teams.

What a boost it must be
To have the best runner
Amongst your ranks…