Meryl Stratford
Modern Math

I am one-half her—
the baby of the family,
the girl who was good at math,
who wanted to be a teacher,
the girl who never learned to swim,
the homemaker, the baker of apple pies,
the beachcomber, the bridge player,
the reader of mysteries,
the woman who never
drove a car, or voted.

I am one-half him—
the youngest of twelve,
the boy whose father spoke only German,
the poor boy with only a sweater
to wear in the winter, the smart boy
who graduated early,
the draft dodger,
the union organizer,
the man who worked
forty years in a factory,
the man who loved Great Books
and butterscotch candy.