John Dorsey

John Dorsey
2 Poems


On a Lazy Summer Day

dead skin scatters
like dandelion seeds
across the hilltop
& i think about the year
i turned 12

about the 2 teenage girls
who were abducted
& killed walking home
from the video arcade
near my grandmother’s house

it was all over the news

that was the summer
my mother ran out of quarters
because playing pacman felt dangerous

& the other kids who walked by that street
would swear up & down
that there were ghosts
guiding them home to safety

i think about how
i wanted to be out there
walking a thin line
amongst the spirits

about how we do things just because
we want to belong to something

to anything

that makes us believe
in magic.


A Ghost is an Unforgiving River

at forty-one
i’ve learned that we’re only as fast
as what we can outrun

that my legs were rubber bands
in another life
the product of a war
i’ll never win

a foreign body of water
an unforgiving river

memories only immigrate
to other parts of the brain

other borders of the heart
that never close

blood rarely changes course

rarely does the right thing

when you expect it to.


John DorseyJohn Dorsey lived for several 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), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press, 2017). He is the current Poet Laureate of Belle, MO. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He may be reached at