1962 – Tim Suermondt

During the Florida summer
before Cuba and missiles went hand-in-hand
the alligators were still climbing
out of the canal, sunning themselves

on one side of the lawn, my brothers and I
playing ball on the other—
a sort of Cold War treaty all our own.
When the Russians took their missiles

back to their motherland, my friends and I
ate burgers at the Woolworth’s counter
before spending most of the day
in the shabby elegance of the bijou.

We never gave a thought about Khrushchev
who was deposed soon after—
we had Kennedy and the future belonged to us,
the heroes on the screen would always have our backs.


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, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Stand Magazine, Galway Review, Bellevue Literary Review and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

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