Decimals and Fractions
Today I was reading about decimals and fractions during my commercial break and realized how ‘stale’ I had become mathematically. I’ve never been one gifted at numerals but I know how to count my money. I am actually so bad at numbers I can only count beyond 100 in my father tongue. Knowing my limitations, I surround myself with calculators and converters while I restrict my knowledge to text.

I am reading that ‘fractions and decimals represent the same things: numbers that are not whole numbers.’ Now what’s that? Isn’t it like calling babies people but not whole people?


Anyhow, poetry saves the day. I’ve only come to read about fractions because a friend of mine asked me to write him a poem and the first line that flashed through my mind was: ‘we are not dealing with fractions.’ Fractions have their place in the classroom just like the poem I’ve written here for my friend has its context in a place called elsewhere.


We are not dealing with fractions


We left fractions in the classroom

Poetry too

But not the poem


We started out halves, then wholes

Like numbers



Now we are even

Prime too

But not fractional


We left fractions behind

When the poem found us the denominator

Designating decimals to determine

Each exponential expression


We’ve solved the equation and

Come to the value of variables

Separated by an equal sign:

Practical math like counting

A-one, a-two, a-three, a-four

Like converting dollars into shillings

Pounds into francs

Consumer math—simple interest

Unit price with or without tax

Total estimate—




One Response to Decimals and Fractions

  1. Verse in reply February 1, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    Love by the numbers

    When we stop counting
    and start remembering
    it was over
    the moment we started counting

    1 plus 1
    1 times 1
    1 minus 1

    positives, negatives, cubed, rooted square
    and otherwise
    whole, fractional,
    rational, irrational

    and greater

    of incompleteness

    take it all (all)
    and then
    divide by zero

    which we can’t do
    which is where
    we started

    our nothings first separated
    then shared

    you, me


    us, we

    by the numbers

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