Two Poems by John Dorroh
May 15, 2023
1. It takes a trip to some hot beach to help you realize that your crimes are petty, unpunishable. Getting your dreams stuck in morning honey, the tea cup not quite what you need. What you do need is a big wave to roll in from foreign soil, to hear a local yell Rogue wave—everybody run, run as fast as you can, like Sarah in the Bible, who couldn’t resist, not wanting to put her stock into the future, always looking back out of human curiosity. You need that, a semi-violent washing of skin & spirit without the sand scrubbing the patina off your cheeks. 2. We tiptoe out of the cottage into the morning heat, an uninviting veil of humidity that warns us to tread lightly. We take heed, eyeing the pale blue salt water hiding on the other side of the sea oats, the sugar-white dunes framing the bottom of our silver seascape. All I want are a couple of sand crabs to look at me with stalked eyes, their light golden bodies scurry from side to side like tiny drunk wrestlers. 3. I am the pot of baby palms at the back door, the lush garden of Eden, too tropical for my delicate complexion. The path to the beach is treacherous. I urge you to corral your crimes and stuff them in an orange plastic cup. Careful crossing the road, I warn. Those crazy kids in golf carts. Do their parents know what they’re doing, that they’re breaking the speed limit? You text me in an hour to say that you’re done, broiled like a filet mignon. Too hot out here. The fish are belly up and the stench is unpleasant. Let’s go get a drink or two. 4. Belly up is the best way to see what’s important, the blue-blue sky, its hot white lemon squeeze, wispy clouds that beg to penetrate souls, carrier pigeons with mixed messages and your own reflection with its history of petty crimes, your face pressed against itself, waiting for the sentence, one that you will find too lenient for the horrible things that you claim to have done. The beach understands these things.
Drinking Her Third Vodka Collins While Waiting on a Vegan Burger
Found a baby kangaroo named Honeychops on her device. The folding chairs are ice cold on her exposed legs, crossed, cool breeze in her mouth. Awwwww, so cute! I want one. No room for another living thing in her house, in her yard, daffodils sucking all the water out of the ground. Doesn’t like finishing someone else’s chocolate milk but will if left alone. Kisses deep every time. Tilts head back so see oak leaves and a fuzzy April moon. Waiting for the Indie-rock to lift her up, for the fresh-grilled vegan burgers, which trendsetters fight over. Slaw looks like wet hair, too much vinegar, celery seeds stuck between teeth. By the time she arrives in the dining room the only burger left has a tumor on it belly. Dressing isn’t easy with loose elbows in her face. There’s her empty glass. She resolves the issue, takes a seat under the oak which has forgot her name.
About John Dorroh
John Dorroh’s poetry has appeared in over 100 journals, including Feral, Pinyon, Red Fez, Wisconsin Review, Selcouth Station, River Heron, and Pif. He had two chapbooks published in 2022. He’s a Southerner living in the Midwest.