To Sue Who Paints Rocks Well & Other Poems

To Sue Who Paints Rocks Well

I believe in the power of rocks,

their steadfastness solidified by self-preservation,

independent yet connected to all others in their class.

Offshoots of mountains and rumors of mountains to come,

ejected by internal forces, spat upon craggy coast lines,

misshapen by fire and ice and global trembling,

polished by water and wind, parched and isolated,

layered and laid to rest, pulverized into sand with the promise

of more rocks, more tribulation, more glory than any living thing

can claim.

I like your rocks, the way you lay your art

upon their faces, their backside, the fine lines

of determined conveyance of Message; the manner in which

you repurpose them, give them homes in places not homelike;

your visions for their destiny, understanding that you do not rewrite

their history, but embellish their past, elevate their stance, enabling

humans to grab a micro-speck of geologic appreciation.

Not Trusting Atoms Any Longer

I’ve been tricked by atoms too many times,

afterimages of their chromatic tendrils luring me in like bait,

their bioluminescence: the underside of a lightning bug,

the surreal glow of a lanternfish, krill; the manner in which

they ignore digital taps, calling all atoms to bed. But they never ever

rest for it’s not in their nature. Subatomic particles continue

to splinter from their parental orbs, shaving themselves

into increasingly thinner slices and specks into a universal

dominion of yin and yang, of undone swaddles of chaos,

mending bent lines into solid swords of light and being.

I feign forgiveness for my disobedience.

Irreverent ellipses, winding around and around

and around and through themselves, fuzzy shadows

and silhouettes, fingered by distance galaxies, pulled in

ever so tightly, the sun’s energy, its neutrons pulsing, shooting billions

of specketts of matter in every conceivable and inconceivable direction,

into the greatest depths of the deepest oceans,

into the backside of deserted planets, away from

unimagined places that are light years from having names.

A New Kind of Holy Water

A Maytag washer walks down the street--

plunk-plunk, waddle, waddle--sloshing sudsy

water to and fro, not a dream, I’m afraid.

A case of nerves perhaps. A case of clear-

cutting in the forest down by that cute

li’l lake where your aunt doles out liver-

wurst on point toast, wading into the water

to wash away blood on her leg from who

knows what. Such a clumsy woman. Such

a thro-back into the age of poodle skirts.

But I like her, the way she never gives

a shit about who stares, who cares what

they think. After my favorite pet died, I

grieved harder than for any person, except

my mother, who urged the kids on the block

to get dirty: pet safe dogs, eat the ice cream

that falls on our shirts, make cigar-box

gardens with dirt from the backyard ditch,

textured perfectly to support the make-believe

plants: rolled-up leaves from the maple tree,

tips of baby conifers, wild onions that looked

like chives. “Gettin’ dirty is half the fun of living,”

she said. “And then there was spaghetti for lunch

and Eskimo pies at 2:30 in the afternoon, and

soon we were messy like pigs. My clothes were

baptized in the Maytag and I slept like a prince.

John Dorroh attempted to teach high school science for a few decades. The verdict's still out whether he did. His poetry has appeared in Red Dirt Forum, North Dakota Quarterly, Dime Show Review, Tuck, Piker Press, Eunoia Review, Setu, Synchronized Chaos, and several others. He also writes short fiction and the occasional rant.