My wife and I find a table
Under a tree whose branches
And leaves are fulsome enough
To provide us with protection
From the rays of the summer’s sun.
Delicately we unwrap our burgers
As if they might crumble before
Our eyes if we weren’t so careful.
Reaching for the French fries I hear
The voice again, a little ancient now:
“Ask not what your country can do
For you…” and I do remember
When the country seemed young
And vigorous, charm alone able
To gloss over the undeniable defects.
A rower on the Charles disappears
From my sight, the water displaying
Not the smallest hint of agitation.
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, Gargoyle, On the Seawall, Poet Lore and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.