Neruda at the Wedding
Tim Suermondt

My wife reads the love sonnet,
nailing the pronunciation of “propagate”
she feared she might stumble over.

The young bride and groom seem to take
to the poem and applauded with the others.
I nod and pat by wife’s knee the moment

She sits back down beside me—and I wonder
if decades from now someone will read
a poem of mine at a wedding, giving the bride

and groom the same sense of delight.
I should know better, but love’s prospects
are endless—just ask Neruda who could turn

schmaltz into genius and lead us singing
to the seashore—just ask the young bride and groom
who feel indestructible—and ask my wife

who folds the poem and rests her head on my shoulder,
quietly telling me she’s had no regrets, how she’s
even come to adore me in my profoundly rumpled suit.

Tim Suermondt is the author of three full-length collections of poems: Trying To Help The Elephant Man Dance (The Backwaters Press, 2007), Just Beautiful (New York Quarterly Books, 2010) and Election Night and the Five Satins (Glass Lyre Press, 2016)—along with three chapbooks. He has poems published in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, Bellevue Literary Review, North Dakota Quarterly, december magazine, Plume Poetry Journal, Poetry East, and Stand Magazine (England), among others. He is a book reviewer for Cervena Barva Press and a poetry reviewer for Bellevue Literary Review. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.