“A trough is 12 feet long and 3 feet across the top (see figure). Its ends are isosceles triangles with altitudes of 3 feet. (a) Water is being pumped into the trough at 2 cubic feet per minute. How fast is the water level rising when the depth h is 1 foot? (b) The water is rising at a rate of 3/8 inch per minute when h = 2. Determine the rate at which water is being pumped into the trough.”
—Edwards, Bruce H. and Ron Larson. 10th Edition Calculus. Cengage Learning, 2015.
Page 154: water pours over my head,
pools at my knees. I want to know
how fast the rain falls. I want to press
my palms to the clouds and reduce
this passing downpour to a figure.
Answer: given the rate at which this
storm beats down on my shoulders,
the roads flood at 2 inches per second.
Given how quick I am to drown, the
raindrops fall at 9 feet per second.
Mathematics is kindest when it
demands a number for everything—
new letters written, phone calls missed,
conversations between hello and
goodbye. Just 5 pages ago, I stood
at a dock and counted the miles
from here to some unspecified
island fading in and out of sight.
And of course I felt the distance like
a hole in my lung—not that I knew
how to name it, so here is a series of
digits instead. Next page. Next page.
Next to nothing gained after each
solution, and so here is a new problem
to labor over. Can I be honest? I just
want to write about something I know
the answer to.
About the Author
Nico Santana is a Management Engineering major from the Philippines who much prefers writing and reading to anything even remotely management-related. His poetry has been published in TLDTD, as well as in several video game-centric fanzines.