Quinn Forlini

City of Imaginary Numbers

We have no life plans & nowhere to be tonight, so
David & I build a city of imaginary numbers. City of i.
It starts at the 24/7-burger place, our blueprints, as we try to
track the mathematics of the background music, then our
conversation, then our hands, then the realization that if god
is a number, how many goodbyes can pile up inside us until
we rip like paper bags? So we create a complex plane, another
dimension, we unhinge ourselves into it, sculpt a shapeless skyline
like the sharp whistle of glass, fill a library with pieces of night,
spiral a staircase in the ways our bodies turn, dig a graveyard
& bury all bright electricity & hospital drug highs. Small city
but like a wild stretch of land, but like a constellation of every
us we’ve ever been a part of, but like a perfect line. At the center,
David plants a garden of imaginary numbers. They’ll take
root, multiply i into 2i, 3i, xi bounty of imaginary floating
the space like arias of honeysuckle & wintergreen, spring onion
& summer squash, cloudberry billowing on & on—but for now
just soil & seeds. David says here, this is for you, & we drop
down into the vegetable beds, lying & crying from sleepy joy,
& I say, please, live here with me. He says yes, & then how
fast we fold into sleep, & lucky us, it’s all we need.

Quinn Forlini holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Virginia and a BA in English from Ursinus College. Her work has previously appeared in The Fourth River and The Broken City. She lives in Baltimore.
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