By John Dorroh


She told me to write while it’s quiet, while

the dogs are on the deck sunning

in a dangerous summer sun, while

the earth movers are not chewing

up the ridge across the road, while

the neighborhood kids are stuck at school, while

the jackhammers are in the backs

of workers’ trucks for the night, while

your partner isn’t banging pots and pans in the kitchen, while

the sun is sinking rapidly through

the trees like an ruby-throated hummingbird.

Some of the words to your song are stuck

in the back of my head, and I can’t make myself

take my nose away from your neck long enough

to make flapjacks in the galley. The fish in the fridge

is beginning to ferment.  I’m glad that we decided

on stew, a bountiful supply of burgundy and those

cute pearl onions that look like the eyeball of marmosets.

I asked you to sit there and listen to my latest poem

and you said that you weren’t ready, that you needed another

glass of wine. Is my poetry that bad?  You patted my hand

as if you were giving me condolences for words

that had not been born, condemning my thoughts before I freed

them into the wind. Write while it’s quiet, before the waves

start crashing on the beach so loud that we can’t hear ourselves


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