By Sierra Blanco
It is not a boom It is not a ba-ba-bang It is not even a pft It is the sound of division typed into a four function calculator One divided by four divided by three divided by two divided by one divided by infinity Because infinity plugs into a four function calculator just like four or pi or number x Because x is a number that means everything And everything is nothing And nothing is truth And I am a liar, so I plug that in as well The broken solar-paneled four-function calculator That will now some day run out of battery Because there was a battery of the battery and soon there will be no sun Strong enough to charge a broken solar panel Just enough to charge a sentiment-less machination for a second So I shall plug that in along with biochemistry and clocks that run fast and closets and cores But since it can’t code, I need to plug it into a graphing calculator One of the ancient ones you get off ebay for three bucks Because nobody sane wants to use plus-plus-Polish entry on their chemistry test So they buy the twenty dollar ones at staples, or the pricier ones wherever else And they plug in the price in their new graphing calculator and it graphs an 100 Which they put on their test, and it gets marked down to an 85 because nobody sane Can actually get an 85 without trying. And it comes with a bang And a boom And a pft Because it is the crash and it is the sound Of one girl sitting and staring at the ceiling While her parents are a whirlwind around her A tornado, a tidal wave, an unstoppable Tsunami Is-adore, like alternating rhythms in music class Like trying to ignore how there are names for fragments of herself The tidal wave of laundry and fix the sink and new shower curtain and love Because there is no boom big enough, No punctuation or onomatopoeia to explain The self-fulfilled prophecy of someday of ignoring of impossible She feels at home where she fails and at home where she exceeds And she is not I is not an i because i is an imaginary number, and she wants to use her four-function That will die before the end of the year, so she wants to make it feel useful and loved Because she loves her calculator and she loves her tidal wave and she loves her life
And she knows she has run out of time, but her heart is too stubborn to accept life True life, like the lives on reality tv, that know what normal is Because normal is not a function on a four function calculator There are only four, and she is only interested in the divide symbol Which really looks like a percent symbol from the side, when you tilt your head right And it’s rather important she remember 1⁄3 as a decimal and .142857 repeating as a fraction Necessary like her remembering how to spell necessary Which she rarely does, like she spells which wish sometimes Perfectly necessary typos and terms and hopes and dreams and lies But she is not a liar anymore Because she forgot that lies are only graphed on the z plane And she’s only supposed to do trigonometry and calculus next year And she prefers to pretend she knows nothing of a subject until she needs it Like memorizing the 7th fractions as decimals and never mentioning it until eleventh grade She remembers it, almost everything she wants to really Because she is a ninja in her sleep, her sleep is self-defense and stealth-attacks She is a warrior with her sleep, showing opinions she is brave enough to never say awake She lies in her sleep, she steals in her sleep, she creates and destroys gods in her sleep Her sleep is deadly, but not half as deadly as a shard from a broken solar panel Like the one on her four function calculator That was probably stabbed with a protractor, but it was also stabbed with sleep Because sleep means dreaming and the girl forgets how not to dream And in the wake of her forgetting how to not, sleep surrounds her Sleep engulfs her, builds walls around her like a princess in a tower And the tower is made of the best and favorite books and worlds and movies And spans for centuries and centuries above the ground, too far for any prince to climb And the dragon that guards her is friendly and her best friend But that does not fit in a four function calculator, not even on a graphing calculator So the girl knows her name means everything and nothing And it ends without a boom Without a ba-ba-bang Without even a pft
Sierra Blanco won the Sondheim National Young Playwrights Competition, Writopia’s Worldwide Plays Competition, NYC Write A Play! Competition, and was Guest Playwright to the O’Neill Young Playwrights Festival. Her poetry was published in the New York Times and her play “Bang!” in “A Decade of Shared Stories.” Her play “The Smallest Heroes” received a contract with YouthPLAYS. She received the Perelstein Discover Your Passion Scholarship for Musical-Theater Composition. She is a winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Musical Songwriting Challenge. She had three Off-Broadway productions of her work and maintains membership at the Dramatists Guild, AEA, and MENSA.