John Dorroh: 'The Weather Sniffer'

The Weather Sniffer

He knows how the ants move and what it means, the diagrams of clouds, how fast the cheese curdles, patterns of droplets as moisture condenses on the window panes, everything. He understands like a mother knows her child, the built-in treachery of technology, its dials and pumps and chips, its ugly head rising in a daily fog, unmatched by genetic stability of his Swissdom, the astonished machines with their artificial intelligence, drumming up sad business for future generations of uncertainty. He knows his business well. It is clean and precise and packaged in reliable flesh, destined for eternal, unchallenged notoriety now and forever.

I Wanted There to be Water

We went back today, drove along the ash-laden road into the mountains where we used to live and love. The big pit, our basement, where we made art and wrote and read and lay in the folds of quilts and watched movies until we fell asleep.

Fern fronds and grass and some weeds that I used to describe as pesky. Now I love them, their scratchy stems and unkempt rat-a-tat hair-dos. I welcome them to crawl up my bruised shins into my lap and nap if they like, use my body for a tactile symbiosis.

It’s delicate here and sacred like a Buddhist’s garden. All things come together slowly, the parade of wishes and ashes, the promises that we bore on our backs as we escaped that day with our lives, two dogs, and some photograph albums. That’s all we needed at the time.

John Dorroh likes to travel and write and cook things. He plays with words and digs in the dirt, turning the soil to see what he can find. He taught science for a long time and now he shares with other teachers how he used writing strategies to help young learners make sense of the natural world.

His poetry has appeared in about 75 journals, including Dime Show Review, Ospressan, North Dakota Quarterly, Dead Mule Society, and Selcouth Station.