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After the revolution, she passed the boys' exam
and became the first woman in the Luzitania,
students of Nikolai Luzin known for
their interest in a new kind of math,

descriptive math, something more like
philosophy, sometimes described as
mathematics for ladies.

This particular lady worked on functions
converging “almost everywhere”
(a precise term po-trigonometricheski)

and she herself converged almost everywhere, too:
Paris, France; Lvov, Poland; Bologna, Italy;
even a mountain pass named for her lover, Nemytski,
whom she later married.

She married Nemytski, but some say her real love
was Luzin. They say she was despondent at his death,
and that when she was not yet sixty (in other words, 59),
she threw herself in front of a Moscow Metro train.

There’s no way to know. It could have been an accident.
But when a woman had made her name calculating
functions that converge almost everywhere,
we have to think she knew what she was doing.



Jessy Randall's poems, comics, and other things have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov's, and McSweeney's. Her most recent book is How to Tell If You Are Human: Diagram Poems (Pleiades Press, 2018). She is a librarian at Colorado College, and her website is http://bit.ly/JessyRandall.
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