by John Dorroh

Perhaps I was too busy teaching school
as they buzzed about the latest action-packed movie,
the trendy new restaurant, the neighborhood going up
across town.

Perhaps I missed the lines of inheritance,
meeting with silent investors, or being in the right places
at the right times. 

Instead I hovered over throngs of teenagers,
crushing up chicken livers in the lab, making glue
and crude paint from kudzu leaves, discovering
why dog shit turns white in the sun. 

I coached tennis till the sun sank below the treeline
on the side of pine forest, transferred bodies full of angst
to math & science tournaments, from debates about
bio-engineered foods, and met a million parents
who worried that their babies were growing up too fast.

In three short decades I missed all the money,
the secret talks about how it grows on trees
in meticulous back yards. Instead we clipped the leaves
and made a paste of fertilizer for planting seeds
whose value hasn’t been determined.

Sometimes John Dorroh finds himself unable to write a single line for a new poem. When this happens, he pulls poetry books from his bookcase and reads. “It always works,” he says. “I imagine poets reading theirs out loud, and I let it find a place to rest.” His poetry has appeared in about 100 journals, including Feral, Dime Show Review, Selcouth Station, and Red Fez. His first chapbook, Swim at Your Own Risk, was published in March 2022.