Leaving Rikers

by Maureen Seaton

Maureen Seaton

In the time it takes to build a 12th generation fractal, I’ve broken the record for the most blood swallowed in a lifetime.

I can’t bring myself to pitch a number that might correspond to naught.

We spored and blues’d, bloodhounds of the Sierpinski Triangle.


What will work will work in the end or it won’t, said the little black lamb to its little white partner. We are born to bleat. We are songs of Rip Van Winkle come home from prison, where he slept for fifteen years in solitary refinement.

I want mathematics! I want the grids and the exxes of quadratic equations.

I could build a whole mansion of fractals and still not know the meaning of self, I thought, as I watched the family enfold the prodigal. He was beautiful this way, alive, and everyone came rushing in to touch him, to scrape his skin with their fingernails.


This, I thought, is a kind of measure of love, but what kind, and what measure?

When you’re gone I’ve got more books in bed than a child bride. They lounge around me with their pages fallen open. I respond in kind, always ready for a good chapter, always near the end of another.

Freedom, I said, and looked.

Last updated September 27, 2022