Exact Fraction

by Maria Tessa Liem

Maria Tessa Liem’s writing has been published in The Malahat Review, Soliloquies Anthology, Petal Journal, and on the Metatron ÖMËGÄ BLÖG. She writes, reads, eats, and sleeps in Montreal and sometimes tweets here & here.

 

1/2

She is off white, right? Off white, exactly right. Not exactly white. Which white exactly? Which

fraction white? She is visibly off white. She is a visible fraction. Her visibility though minor

is divisible, right? Rather, her minor visibility isn’t visible enough exactly. She is white-

washed, right? She is exactly half white, right? Half white exactly. An exact

fraction. She has privilege, right? Her privilege is off-white. Not exactly

right. She is not not privileged. Not exactly. Not an exact fraction.

Each fraction takes space. Each fraction takes too much

space. She takes place in too many spaces. She is

half. She is an exact fraction. An excellent frac-

tion. Each half exactly half. Exactly. She

numerates, she denominates, she

divides, she fractures

exactly.

 

2/2

But she says she is not half.
Rather, she is two.

She has two voices:
one sounds like this

the other sounds like this
(or sometimes like (this)).

The tone of each voice
is nearly identical in pitch

so when they sound in unison
and they always do, the difference—

the slight difference in frequency
generates a beat.

Two voices
meaning only

to maintain her pulse,
the vibration of her heart

and language is a consequence.
She is the hum in the room,

two voices, a constant orator,
no thought escapes sound.

Even in sleep
she must murmur:

a hummingbirds heart can beat
twelve-hundred and sixty times a minute

to support the whipping
of its wings. But I think

the wings beat the heart.
Her two voices cinch

both halves: the chamber
that pushes, the chamber that pulls.

 


Maria Tessa Liem’s writing has been published in The Malahat Review, Soliloquies Anthology, Petal Journal, and on the Metatron ÖMËGÄ BLÖG. She writes, reads, eats, and sleeps in Montreal and sometimes tweets here & here.

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