Frame for an abacus


An early April morning,
outside that door where dad
swooped down and scooped me up,Don’t go in. Mum is sleeping.

I started counting windows.


I have grown into a good mathematician.
Today I am studying Pi, prime numbers, angles,
how the light from those windows
formed a perfect Isosceles triangle.


Calculate the degree of diffracted light
If a door is:

one, open,
two, closed,
three, start Maggie Sullivan

This Wednesday July 16th from 7-8.30pm, Blackwell’s Oxford presents: Four Poets Reading. The evening features Susie Campbell, Amira Thoron, Claire Trévien, and Jennifer Wong (one of our PhD students in poetry at Brookes). A free evening of poetry, with drinks and books for sale.

‘Frame for an abacus’ is copyright © Maggie Sullivan, 2013. It was published by Waterloo Press in the remote in 2013, and is reprinted here by permission.Notes from Waterloo Press:

Maggie Sullivan has been a trustee of the Poetry Society, a workshop tutor for CoolTan Arts and is a mentor for Survivors’ Poetry. Her first collection, near death {domestic}, was published by Tall Lighthouse Press. ‘Frame for an abacus’ comes from her second collection, the remote, published by Waterloo Press in 2013. You can read another selection from the remote on the Waterloo website.

Waterloo Press offers readers an eclectic list of the most stimulating poetry from the UK and abroad. We promote what’s good of its kind, finding a commonality amongst the poets we publish. Our beautifully designed books range from lost modernist classics, translations and vibrant collections by the best British poets around. Our translation list is growing to 25% of our output. Waterloo Press brings radical and marginalised voices to the fore, mirroring their aesthetics in outstanding book design, including dust jackets; large font; and original artwork. With its growing list, Waterloo Press promotes at last a permeable membrane between contemporary schools, quite apart from archiving a few sacred vessels for good. WP fosters a poetics based on innovation with respect for craft, bloody-mindedness and as founder Sonja Ctvrtecka put it: ‘An elegant unstuffiness – a seagull perched on a Porsche.’ Now the major poetry publisher of the south-east, we also believe strongly in a community of like-minded independent presses. We’ve become a land.

Find out more about Waterloo Press via its website, or ‘like’ the publisher on  Facebook.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.