He could be any professor with thick glasses,
graying hair, the turned slant of his eyes
making him seem like a statistical Confucius,
the kind of man who might sit on a mountaintop,
dispensing numbers like candied gumballs.
I wonder how his students can pass him by
without ever looking at him, their eyes glazed over,
never noticing his eyebrows, bowing
from the weight of his forehead, agonizing
over the delicate romance of numbers and theory.
They do not see the man beneath the graphs,
the solitary lecturer flying between cities
to work figures into the lives of those
who do not know this beauty: the charting
of the results of existence into a simple equation,
the numbers lining up as if to show
the cleanness of living within digits.
How such mathematical odds can rest
in one man, whose childhood nearsightedness
made distances impossible, whose brown eyes
must have blinked in school,
his tire-tread sandals kicking against
the bottom of his desk turned gray from years,
the possibility of statistics caught
in the corners of his upturned mouth.