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Solving Problems

Solving Problems

by Eveline Pye

How do you know the right thing to try? he says,
jabbing paper with his finger. Good question,
I say, playing for time. I have no answer he wants
to hear. Solving these is intuitional: first,
you learn to manipulate x’s and y’s until decisions
are made in your fingers, not your head –
like typing an access code at the ATM, changing gear
in the car or signing a cheque – until it all becomes
muscle memory – the same way Reubens painted
hands, again and again or Keats scribbled rhyme
after rhyme – and then you go with the flow
and, if you’re lucky, there’s a sweet, sweet moment,
as the plum falls into your eager hands, and if not,
you try, and try – on and on until your head hurts.

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