blackmail press 31  Marginalization
Tracy Chollet
New Zealand

Marginalization - Pauline Canlas Wu
Tracy Chollet is married with two children. Before settling in Christchurch, she lived for many years in France, studying and teaching English. She has also worked as a freelance journalist and is currently enjoying her first year at the Hagley Writers' Institute. She has had poetry published in The Press and Takahe and is currently finishing off her first novel.

2-1=1  1+0=1  1x1=1  1÷1=1

1. She is nine.
2. Her best friend has left the school.
3. The two times table does not fit any more.
4. She is now an odd number in a class of evens.
5. School days multiply to the power of playing alone.

She skips along the line one number at a time

There are two coins in the purse.
One is taken away
and paid to another world.
How many coins are left?

She wants to try a triangle.
The other two girls turn
to face each other
and draw a straight line
between themselves.
Three is a hard number.

She is a long way
from the girls
on the monkey bars.
If one of them
walked over to her
she could count the steps.

Diameters are more difficult
than perimeters.
Squares and rectangles
are easier than circles.
She plays on the edge,
stays in the corners.

The equation changes each day.
She is always the letter x.
She doesn’t know
how to work out her value.