ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Two Poems by John P. Kristofco

Plastic on the Couch


They saw the films; we all did,
explosions like the death of suns,
hurricanes of clouds in trees
that bent like sticks to earth,
those pictures on the t.v.
in school with the sirens on the roof;
everybody saw,
and so they layered plastic on the couch,
lined flowers in the yard like troops,
captured every fallen leaf,
cleaned the mower with a rag,
forbade the oil drip in their garage,
and never let their tires leave a mark,
all the things that let them sleep.
How else were they to hold
the nightmare of the bombs at bay?



friends at twelve

there was a time when all that mattered
was the tape around the baseball holding
through the pick-up game,
our bikes against the fence,
a quarter in our pocket
when we ran,
graceful children still,
through morning into nights of sleeping out,
rummy til the Kool Aid warmed,
cigarettes we snookered from our folks,
fables for the brotherhood
intoned before the voices changed,
balance was confounded,
and the girl across the street became a dream;
too little time to change a world
that held us for a moment
then rose up all at once
then threw us to the fancy of the wind.


John P.(Jack) Kristofco has published over six hundred poems and fifty short stories in about two hundred different publications, including: Folio, Rattle,  Bryant Literary Review,  Cimarron Review,  Fourth River, Stand,  The MacGuffin , Sierra Nevada Review, Blueline,  Slant,   Snowy Egret, and Big Muddy.  He has published four collections of poetry (most recently "The Timekeeper's Garden" from The Orchard Street Press, at and is currently putting together a book of short stories.  Jack has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. He lives in Highland Heights, Ohio with his wife Kathy.
Kristofco's work has appeared frequently in Offcourse.

Return to Offcourse Index.