Iowa Writes

The Mathematician

Bent over the notebook balanced on his left knee,

Straight hair sweeps across a pale forehead.

He mouths formulas, counts on thin fingers,

And thoughts are etched in dark graphite.

Frowning, erasing, crossing out lines at a time,

Pencil pressed on pursed lips. Then, aha!

Blue eyes light up a dim apartment.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting


This poem was selected for the 2009 Poetry in Public project, sponsored by the Iowa City Public Art Program. Now in its seventh year, Poetry in Public displays poems by local writers of all ages in Iowa City buses, downtown kiosks, and select public buildings from April (National Poetry Month) through the fall. Tareq is currently a junior at Iowa City High School.

Poetry in Public

This page was first displayed
on November 06, 2009

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