Less than, Equal to, Greater than

1 March 2018

I’m teaching my nephew the basics
of math, how a sign can be used

to compare numbers. Two is greater
than one, five is less than ten.

The key is to have each alligator
mouth swallowing the bigger

number: hunger points in one
direction, unless both sides being

compared are equal, two lines
to match the balance, the fulcrum

between a pound of iron
and a pound of feathers. Soon

the child weighs one against
another, the world divided

into all that is greater, all
that is less. Consider how rain

in a storm is greater than
the day’s threads of drizzle. How

our hands can only grasp
what’s less than a palm-sized

morsel. And I who will never bear
a son of my own, will I ever be equal

to or always less than my brother?

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