Poem of the Week, by Ron Koertge

My poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.

How to survive the next meeting you don’t want to be in: Focus on the famished, clawed creature that just now slunk into the room and is now crawling over everyone’s feet in turn. Does anyone else notice? They do not!

Where is the creature now? The only way to know is to pay close attention to body language. An upper lip will twitch, a butt will shift on its chair, fingers will suddenly drum.

Meanwhile, the endless droner drones on and on, no one brave enough to interrupt. Only the clawed creature can finally stop the madness. But when? When will sweet release come?

This is how I get through meetings. It’s also why I so love Ron Koertge’s funny, subversive, turn-things-inside-out world-of-imagination poems.

The Search Party, by Ron Koertge

It’s hopeless. Maureen and I broke up
again. While the party goes on
without me, I’m sulking in the kitchen

eating all the chips and guacamole
when the host’s daughter comes in.

Nora opens the door to the refrigerator.
There’s a stuffed bear leaning on the cottage

She says, “That’s Robert Falcon Scott,
the explorer. He needs medical attention

She looks at me. “Can I trust you to wait
right here while I go for the huskies?”

Now I cannot leave my post. Not to dance,
not to make a beer run. Not even if someone
comes in to say she likes my new shirt.

Nora returns with two stuffed dogs. The door
to Antarctica opens.

Nora cradles the bear. She tries to feed it
a Cheeto. “Hold on, Robert. Help
is on the way.”

To me, she says, “Harness the dogs.
We have to move fast.”

It’s starting to snow. My hands are freezing
as I untangle the tow lines.

For more information about Ron Koertge, please click here.

Words by Winter: my new podcast


  1. Heidi Powell · May 1, 2021


    Thanks so much for this poem! I went down the rabbit hole and realized we sold his teen books at the store (P&P).

    Also came across this short: https://ronkoertge.com/negative-space/

    Take care, Heidi

    Heidi Powell | An Open Book Foundation Founding Director she | her | hers 5901 Utah Ave. NW | Washington, DC 20015 T: 202-686-7115 | C: 301-641-2766 hpowell@anopenbook.org http://www.anopenbookfound.org | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

    Featured at the 2019/20 Catalogue for Philanthropy website. “One of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region.”


    Liked by 2 people

    • alisonmcghee · May 2, 2021

      Heidi! This is so wonderful. Long ago I taught with Ron at Vermont College in their MFA program, and I’ve always loved his work. Thanks for the link. Hope you are well. XO

      Liked by 1 person

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