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Often when I walk by them at M.I.T.
I think of the mathematicians—I really do,

John von Neumann my favorite,
the one who helped me become a crackerjack

stats keeper of baseball when I was a boy.
Had I been more diligent I might have grown up

to be one of those who write difficult equations,
sure that some of them can save the world.

On the lane marked by a lone apple tree among
the others I’m sure I hear the sound of chalk

scrawling numbers and faith on the blackboard—
if I got this wrong, I’ll live happily with my mistake.


                                On the streets there’s quite a chill.
                                Wherever you look, they’re dragging sleds
                                Of sorrowful remains,
                                Sewn into the white of linen.
                                                   –Sergey Rudakov

They will always get us, sooner or later, the tragedies
and everything will turn out badly as the prophets
and comedians are quick to remind us.
Yet here I am on a cold day, chilled with happiness,
having had a meal and a session with friends,
parting with a feeling of gratitude and invincibility.
Despair can only step aside and let me pass,
waving its white flag until I come to my senses.

Tim Suermondt’s sixth full-length book of poems “A Doughnut And The Great Beauty Of The World” will be forthcoming from MadHat Press in 2021. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine, december magazine, On the Seawall, Poet Lore and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

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