For Grigori Perelman

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Russian mathematician and recluse, b. 1966

Who proved the “soul conjecture,” beard and eyes
aflame, warlocklike; who substantiated
the stubborn, grand Conjecture formulated
by Poincaré; who, with baroque contempt
for process, threw the second proof online—
cast it before a world of fellow swine—
turned down the Fields and the Millennium Prize
(citing some convoluted private rule),

and shut the door. Who isn’t rich or kempt.
Martyr, monastic brooder, holy fool—
what has he proved by hiding all these years?
Some say he picks wild mushrooms now; some say
he plucks fruit higher than the Poincaré
(which has, I’m told, something to do with spheres).