Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè: To Hypothesize Like E C Catalan

Head of the wife of an Ooni, the traditional ruler of the ancient Yoruba city of Ile-Ife, 1930s. Source: 1stdibs.com

(For Onnie)


I have tried to count our minted coins:


They are Z+ of integers slipping through mind

Like a money changer sans numismatic head.

Perhaps I am a failed Pythagorean

Perhaps I am a failed mathematicist

That I have always been all my life.


“We never return to find the things

We actually didn’t keep. Yet, there are things

We didn’t purposely keep, but

We return to find them anyway,” she said.


This, then, shall be the obverse image

I content myself with hoping

That gratitude = all number theory:

Your clear bright eyes, like the sun

At 13:00, lined with kohl; canonical binomials.


Thus, your name has become a totem in my wallet.


Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè (also known as 15/6 and @LiteraryGansta on Twitter) is an editor, literary theorist, critic and writer from Ibadan, Nigeria who has been working on the connectedness of poetry and mathematics. He is the co-founder of Fortunate Traveller, a journal of travel literature, and the author of Transacting Stories, a chapbook of his travels across Africa, which was published by Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographers Organisation and was part of their exhibition “A Volatile Negotiation Between the Past and Present”.