Lobachevsky Dialogue or How Pringles Ruined My Life

by Salvatore Attardo

For small amounts of time
two parallel lines
on a hyperbolic paraboloid
(practically the shape of a Pringle)
may appear to be parallels
but as time passes and the length increases
the two lines are seen
(draw two tiny lines on a Pringle)
to diverge infinitely
lost in the void
(having transcended the space of the Pringle)
never to meet again.

The problem, noted Lobachevsky,
is that for a local observer
there is no way of telling
if this or that melancholic entanglement
is elliptical or hyperbolic.
Bummer, said Bolyai,
who was still single.

***

Salvatore Attardo is a professor in the Literature and Languages Department at Texas A&M – Commerce. His poetry, translation and photography have been published or are forthcoming in Rust and Moth, Tidal Basin Review, Front Range, Strange Machine, Crash, and others.