He insists on confessing “I’ve never gotten poems”
and he’s both surprised and pleased
when I tell him “Sometimes neither have I.”
I assure him no matter what poem we come up with
it will be better than anything I could do on the gridiron—
my Gale Sayers moves alive only in memory.
I suggest he be aggressive with the first line
and he writes ‘I am the Quarterback.’ Good, and in short
order we have a serviceable twenty line poem—
one able to withstand the image I failed to resist,
the guard and tackle opening a hole for the fullback
“You could drive a mack truck through.”
We print the poem out and he folds it in half, lifts
his arms skyward, turning and saying “Touchdown!”
Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections: Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance (The Backwaters Press, 2007 ) and Just Beautiful (New York Quarterly Books, 2010). He has published poems in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. After many years in Queens and Brooklyn, he has moved to Cambridge with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.