is full of ghost stories
faded yearbook photos
of dreams that died
on loose gravel
the sun shining
on our failures
just hanging there
like a rusty hubcap
nailed to the cross.
John Dorsey lived for many years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw's Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) and Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016). He is the current Poet Laureate of Belle, MO. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Imagine planting a garden. Imagine planting a garden of only yellow tulips. You love yellow tulips, the dusky smiles, stems’ green neutrality. Yellow tulips are your favorite. So mild.
His head was an apple
chest proud, deadman's float
while rows of parents looked on
with drowsy interest
His ghost was with me that morning
Wandering round my room
While I tried to write,
Lifting the corners of my laundry,
Making the dust dance in the light.
They do so quicken
to warn don’t they?
‘specially those that
have never dared or
worse, but sadly, onced.
Here I am wearing June on my fingers,
earrings on my ankles, skinny dipping
in a public pool regardless of awe-struck
children, writing a note between gillyflowers,
slurping breakfast on the ice veranda, braiding
lavender though it’s long been brown.
You are in a new house. It is your fifth birthday.
The Charles River shushes your tantrums,
infrequent as they have become. The moon moth
is an introvert. Her wings light up the night like limes
but she prefers her Sycamore hollow.
Lay your head down to sleep with word for word transcripts of murder trials still ringing in your ears. One thousand stories from neighbors of lawless men. Their mouths open like baby blackbirds spewing out ink, instead of tiny songs, a river into the corridors of the dead.
1. For instance, forsythia catch April on fire and this is when babies learn the color yellow and adolescent girls carry their new chests like medals, momentarily. By May, the fuss has diffused and branches shiver without flower while dumb daffodils gab and lilacs diva the garden.
Rainbows in a puddle reflect the triangle over Kenmore.
I took a shower with a boy, we poured
parabens through our threads. In some places
the tap water catches.
He’s the most amazing &
already they take him, fate
beautys up the mirror, wonders
how ever one gets used to tighter.