the sin curve

“It’s sine curve,” says Fritz.  He has come to see what I am writing.

He’s right, of course, but sin is its button on my graphing calculator, and all term I’ve been writing sin, meaning sine, but muttering as I spell it out “sin” more often than I say, “sign.”

The sine curve looks like an S.  Its match – its mate, helpmate, partner-in-crime – the cosine, looks like a C.  This is a neat (in the sense of tidy) accident of congruity.  S  sine, C – cosine.  But it has nothing to do with how these curves, these waves, the sine and the cosine, were named.

Still, it pleases me, the way the sine curve looks like a backwards S – a reflected S, fallen headlong into the x-axis.  (Imagine, please, the x-axis as a universal horizon – permeable and so by nature watery – allowing a dive below as easily as any rise above its dark blue liminal verge of sea against sky.)

The sine curve rises from the point of origin (0,0) only to fall further than before – that inevitable path – and having risen, having fallen, floats face downward in the water, breaking the surface tension of the watery axis,  staring blindly into deeper water.

What we call a deadman’s float when we’re learning to swim.

Deadman’s. Not a particularly happy portent to land on.

Do you think this is a sign?


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