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Tim Suermondt

Alone On The Basketball Court


It’s not that I’m selfish—I love

my teammates, even love those


I play against, especially when in my swagger

I pump in shots that leave them dumbstruck.


But in the early evening now, the tall buildings

bending over me like Abdul-Jabbar, I settle in


to a perfect loneliness, pounding the ball

on the concrete before every move, slipping


through the air with sweat and a beautiful precision.

The last birds of daylight fly from the chain-link


fence, a few lights slowly coming on in the city,

a string of shots I bury, beating the first star home.

Where They Are


The sun is out early, a soft blaze—

a cooling breeze accompanying it


has made sure of that

and I want to be outside with my friends


who are gone, but this poem

can’t conjure such magic.


I decide to have lunch in the courtyard

surrounded by new buildings rising,


a few old ones resurrected to modern

standards, a painter’s blue on the sky’s


canvas—if only I had the talent

to put the brush to such use. On my walk


later in the park a green balloon

attached to a short string is tangled


in the branches of a tree—it breaks free

and floats off to the river with me


following behind, trying to keep up,

reaching for the string as if it were possible.

Waiting For The Boat


The dot on the ocean is getting bigger,

it’s coming. I shuffle my feet, a shy dance.

My suitcase, like the dog I once had,

is right by my side. I’ve packed some clothes,

a few books and a coat for any season.

I don’t know where I’m going beyond a clue

or two, which is usually the case. More

and more people arrive, mill about the shore.

They seem as anxious but prepared as I am.

I wonder what books they have nestled

on top of a dear dress, a sturdy pair of pants.


Tim Suermondt’s sixth full-length book of poems A Doughnut And The Great Beauty Of The World came out in 2023 from MadHat Press. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine, Smartish Pace, The Fortnightly Review, Poet Lore, Plume and Hole in the Head Review, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.


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