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The Algorithm You Never Learned

— Emily Yin

If there is no lexicon for loss, return
            the empty language, return

hand clamped over yearning mouth, or air
            bereft of sound. Perhaps this

            is the algorithm you never learned: love
as stochastic process, as step after step

of bewildering and equally-likely
            decisions, non-deterministic,

none of them easy; love as random walk
across the ravaged field of time.

To love someone is to walk
            into fire for her, not knowing

            whether you can live with the scars.
To pick up the phone at 3 a.m., not knowing

when you’ll put it down. To finish
            what you have to say. To be wide awake,

unblinking, brave—even if it doesn’t last.


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