Truth in Numbers

Kareem Carr

Back home
I was anchored:
To studying
To school
To my parent’s shop counter
Most hours
Of every day
I was working with barely a break
Customers always flowed
and while business rarely slowed
In the confines of our store
I would still steal seconds
To watch our door
That door between our store and so much more

What would it be like,
To step through
To leave this place
To explore?

I had to know —
I had to know more

I see my uncle, the scholarship winner
All my uncles — such macho breadwinners
Confident in their knowledge
As they quizzed and assessed my academic progress

I felt naïve, felt like such a beginner
I loved the island
But I couldn’t be silent
I was already stretching past
All my current limits

But leaving the island —
It’s a game of numbers
And me, I’m not one to slumber
I’m willing to gamble and
the rate
at which I need to
elevate myself enough to
the future
I’m working towards

So I read as I dream and dream as I read
Of where these endless pages will lead
But I’m counting, counting the pages I’ve read
Each page of each book pouring knowledge in my head

I learn too quick that
Winning my first scholarship
Was just the start
To charting a part
Of my expedition afar and

America isn’t what I expect
Even worse, between me and my studies
I feel a disconnect
But I know how to work hard
How to pause and recollect

Mathematics has been my language, numbers have been my words
It’s time to find new phrases, a different dialect
I leave behind the theoretical
And redirect my intellect
I find a way to reconnect
my head and my heart
And what I do best

I find myself studying biostatistics
The transition to my new mission
Bridged the past and the present
Gave my voice presence
As I advocated for stronger mathematical education
And learned how to perform data analyzation

Looking back, the heart of my journey
Stayed the same
Even though the destination may have changed

Because with each step I took
In numbers,
I always searched for the truth
From the applications over which I labored
To the fans that never wavered
To the burdens I carried on my shoulders
To this moment — to each brown-eyed gaze, looking up to me

Making me determined to succeed
in walking the stage, in flying free
And I know that when
those that watch come of age
I’ve showed them a doorway
They too can step through
One day

Maaya Prasad