‘Recessional’ – Bernd Sauermann

Bernd Sauermann has contributed an excellent poem, ‘The Give and Take’, to Lines Underwater. Here, you can read another of his poems, ‘Recessional’. He explains,

“My writing process is, for the most part, mysterious to me. My poems often begin with random lines presenting themselves to me. If a given line catches my attention, I just sort of flap in the breeze behind it in the composition process, often not fully realizing what the poem is going to be about until the poem’s rough draft is fairly complete. Then, in the revision process, I tighten things up, paying close attention to the nuances of words’ sounds and meanings in the context of the poem’s dramatic situation. I’ve been drawn to prose poems lately, partly because the form (or lack of) I think forces readers to focus more exclusively on content and idea, vs. focusing on content and idea as a part of a “poem,” though I guess a “prose” poem is still, ultimately, just another “form” of poetry.”


I float on the warmth of fingers through warm hair.  A

future is strung like Spanish moss in the trees, and the

bayou rises to meet the laughter of a woman. Later, a

truce is drawn: I gather moss, and a laughing girl

watches the rain wet my hair. She describes the rain

to me in glances, and I take in her glistening syllables,

someone who used to wallow in a dry heat, the glare

of a red sun setting on a highway receding in the

cracked rearview mirror.

Bernd Sauermann teaches at Hopkinsville Community College in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and is also the poetry editor at Whole Beast Rag, an online (and sometimes print) journal of art, ideas, and literature. He has poems, stories and photographs published in The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets, Southern Indiana Review, New Orleans Review, Nimrod, Poet Lore, The Kansas Quarterly Review of Literature, Leveler, Mad Hat Review, ežRatio, Vinyl Poetry, and many other publications, a chapbook titled Diesel Generator from Horse Less Pressand his first full-length collection, Seven Notes of a Dead Man’s Song, will be published in the coming year by Mad Hat Press.

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