ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Tim Suermondt


I finished the book,
put it on the nightstand,
turned off the lamp and went to sleep.

A ferocious mountain of dust
was coming ever closer, the outline
of sinister vehicles taking the lead.

I woke, turned on the lamp,
picked up the book, checking again
for the balm at the end:

“And the army retreated in the same dust
they had kicked up when they arrived.”
I felt relieved, for all of us.



Mums bloom in someone’s garden
and I sit in a room guarded by Japan screens.
I’m lost and found at the same time—
who understands any of this?
I write a line with mums in it, thread it nicely
to the next line and the next, a literary relay,
a handoff I hope doesn’t falter in the last leg.
The sun in and out as if playing a game
with the screens and through a slit I commend
the calmness of the trees refusing to be provoked.


Tim Suermondt is the author of five full-length collections of poems, the latest: “Josephine Baker Swimming Pool” from MadHat Press, 2019. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine, december magazine, On the Seawall, Poet Lore, Offcourse and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

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