Arithmetic Progression

Someplace, Singapore, 2014.

Someplace, Singapore, 2014.


Each day I gain my meagre pay
at the proletarian poetry factory
where strangers hand me a word
from which I write them a poem.

The days go by and I marvel not
at the strange words I receive but
at the way in which they perceive
me, a seer, and poetry, a medium.

The first morning you arrived was
an ordinary one made extraordinary.
You slipped me a torn piece of paper;
instead of a word, I found a number.

The days passed with the arithmetic
progression of an earnest one, and I
began to anticipate your arrivals and
the inspiration your integers ignited.

On the 275th day, my poem for you
had already materialised in my mind
before I unfolded your note to find
not ‘275’, but a single symbol: ‘ ∞ ‘.

Our eyes met; a question was birthed.
My fingers danced on the typewriter:

Forever is composed of the numbers 
 which we together from '1' string.

– Agnes Chew


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