ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Robert Klein Engler.



A mallard slips into the mirror of the lake.
Come on—let me steal a kiss—just one.
Ivy climbs the walls. Old books remain asleep.
It doesn't take a prodigy —what's done is done.
We should have turned by two instead of one.

Fall, late afternoon —the time of bright sunshine
and long shadows. A student with dark lashes
is lost in his book. The world spins in a sea of
fallen leaves with its weight of wounds. Tell me,
how do we wash the coal dust from our hands?

There are no scholarships for bankrupt hearts.
The goldenrod blooms and the milkweed dries.
Prophetic forces gather now beyond the skies.
Oh God, you must love this confusion outright,
to say my yoke is easy and my burden light.




Let's go out, now, into the azure cold,
when sunlight casts forth long shadows.
Winter evening. You are young. I am old.
Remember how soon the sunlight goes.

Down by the bank of Weller Creek
saplings cast black lines across the snow.
You may never find what you seek.
It's not so bad, alone. Look at me. I know.

Bundle up. Mittens, too. An icy wind
will blow. Yes. It happens. My lover died.
But not to worry. Step here. It's easy, when
the creek is ice, to reach the other side.


Robert Klein Engler lives in Des Plaines, Illinois and sometimes New Orleans. Many of his poems and stories are set in the Crescent City. His long poem, The Accomplishment of Metaphor and the Necessity of Suffering, set partially in New Orleans, is published by Headwaters Press, Medusa, New York, 2004. He has received an Illinois Arts Council award for his "Three Poems for Kabbalah." Some of his books are available at Visit him on the web at

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