Two Poems by Tom Montag

Tom Montag’s poems confront life’s inherent limitations unflinchingly. And even when such acknowledgement doesn’t bring wisdom or solace to the speaker, it can at least bring a shared sense of our human dilemma to the reader. Perhaps this the best that art can hope for…

by: Tom Montag ((Header art by Thomas Subtil.))

Patient 30606080

He fell in the bathroom.
He was my patient.
He said, “Tom, call
the Fire Department.”
I said, “What for?”
He said, “By yourself,
you won’t get me
off the floor.”

He hated his mother.
He cursed her, singing:
“Dirty old hole, dirty old hole,
she’s a dirty old hole.”

He said, in his delirium,
“Milwaukee’s gone. Chicago’s gone.
Buffalo’s gone. New York’s gone.
They’re all gone. All that’s left
is silicone and blood.
Can you take the blood?”


The Precipice

Nothing to do
but read and write

and putter at
the occasional

house chore. I have
the perfect life,

some would say.
They envy this

yet cannot see
how near the drop

from this to


Tom Montag is most recently the author of  In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013, as well asMiddle Ground, Curlew: Home, Kissing Poetry’s Sister, The Idea of the Local, and The Big Book of Ben Zen. Recent poems will be found at Architrave Press, Atticus Review, Blue Heron Review, The Chaffin Journal, Hamilton Stone Review, Little Patuxent Review, The Magnolia Review, Plainsong, Portage, South 85, Third Wednesday, Torrid Literature, Verse Virtual, and other journals. He blogs as The Middlewesterner and serves as Managing Editor of the Lorine Niedecker Monograph Series, What Region?

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