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      A Geometer Reflects Upon His Grave, Grave Loss

      perhaps
      the pain of loss
      is equal to
      the square of love
      divided by

      the cube of time that merely passes after loss

      if so, it is
      an asymptote
      the curve of pain
      decreasing toward
      but never reaching

      zero

      there is,
      I know too well,
      a calculus of grief
      so there must be
      a formula for pain,
      an equation to express intensity of loss

      the constant must be learned
      experimentally
      and must be based upon
      some unit fit
      to handle paradox:
      to measure loss immeasurable

      I'm sure already
      I will call that constant
      psi

      perhaps I'll call the unit

      pang

      or

      tear

      or better yet

      the heavy-year

      -- Warren F. O'Rourke, 1991