In the dreams, I’ve been speaking Latin, been bringing my fingertips to my head and finding my long hair has been cut, been being told by laughing kings that there are too many babies and not enough houses or doughnuts to go around. This is not alarming. The dreams have always been strange.
The waking world has been windy and cold, bringing 28-degree November nights and days, the bare branches stark against a winter-blue sky. I’m writing a poem about the ocean. I’m writing about getting lost in it. I’m writing as I run through streets swept clean of autumn.
I think of how my brother relishes in pushing his physical limits, and how I spent years doing just that and have since been paying the price. Now, I have to set limits and keep them. I know very well not to even push against them, or my body will snap like a twig.
In math, limits are vital to functions. They define what the function’s value may be as it approaches a certain point. I know well what it means to reach a point, and understand what it’s worth, and choose to go no farther.
Limits define continuity. I accept my physical limits because, for me, running is sanity, and this is the only explanation for why I persist in it long after anyone else would declare it insane.
Limits define derivatives, which comes from the word “derive,” from the Middle English diriven: to flow, draw from, spring. Remove the banks of a river, and you have a river no more.
Finally, limits define integrals. In math, integrals are whole numbers, that is, not fractions. In life, they make up the parts of a whole something, without which, the whole of anything would not exist.
The waking world has chilled, gone still after days of hard wind that rattled windows, pushed against the boundaries of my house. I know how it feels to live in a place that’s been shaken.
In the dreams, I’ve been seeing new faces, been having new problems, been skewing the strangeness to approach a different angle. I don’t want to write about you anymore, so I’m not. Instead, I’m writing a story about the meaning of enough.