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The Highest Math
By Tim Suermondt

The boy who couldn't do school arithmetic
had a field day computing batting averages,
ERAs, won/loss percentages.

In these matters
he demonstrated the skills and élan
required for the imagination to believe

the boy might easily have played
in the same league as Johnny von Neumann
who knew about the numbers within

numbers and may have rooted
for the Cincinnati Reds too
just to show there is something

akin to justice in the world.
Billy McCool, Jim Maloney,
Chico Ruiz, Vada Pinson . . . an entire

team and a boy badly in need
of wins, kept alive and hustling
by the often inelegant elegance of statistics:

.238 5.56




TIM SUERMONDT's poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet and Critic, Southern Poetry Review, Indiana Review, River Styx, Graffiti Rag, and other publications. He is the author of the chapbook The Dangerous Women with Their Cellos (1998). He lives in Jamaica, Queens.

© 2000 Tim Suermondt


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