Bio Note: I continue to discover new poet voices as my bookshelves weigh themselves down, in need of serious expansion. Some of these voices include Catherine Pierce, Alicia Mountain, Taylor Byas, CT Salazar, Beth Gordon, and Dorianne Laux. As I read their work, I'm motivated to write my own stuff. Occasionally, I write a poem that makes me proud. My poems have appeared in Feral, River Heron, El Portal & many other journals.
Thursday Afternoon under the Pines
after Dorianne Laux We sit around the fire pit, a blue-and-white cooler housing a small bag of chipped ice, a makeshift igloo by my side. We’re tired like the gray clouds that float over our heads. Early summer grass is beginning to brown in patches the size of home plate. The wrens warn us to stay away from their territory with dive-bombs of gray-and-brown feathers. In a month it will be too hot to sit outside with happy hour drinks and cheese from three countries. We understand the word savor and chew on it with intense deliberation. I want more bees this year. I point to my whiskey barrel full of baby zinnias. They’re for Walter who died three weeks ago. He loved their resistance and wishes to come back as one. The man next door pulls in from work. He looks our way and casts a wave with his right arm. He’ll be 40 next month, says he feels old like he might not make another year. A cardinal lands on the picnic table. He has a wiggling worm in his mouth and stands motionless for half a minute, then flies away as quickly as he landed. The sound of hammers and band-saws comes to a halt in the new neighborhood across the road. We need to have a funeral for the once-perfect ridge that’s been decimated beyond recognition. The developer calls it progress. I call on Sandi to pour me another pre-mixed martini. The olives are stuck in the jar from overcrowding. I feel stuck inside the house in winter. Spring offers hope and water. The girl next door takes her old dog on a walk. She peers through the cracks in the lower pine branches wondering why we’re having a party without her. Country & western music peels in the distance. Crows are having a convention in the tree tops that divide the lots. They want to learn new faces to keep their memories sharp. I feel like a part of something, but it won’t last forever. Nothing does. I need permanence and a bowl of rocky road ice cream. But first I need to finish my martini and send friends home.
©2022 John Dorroh
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