“Inextricably Entwined in Illinois Cornfield as Winter Knocks on My Door” - John Dorroh

The cold clutch of winter was not sudden this year;
instead, a long haul of end-of-summer pulses, lemon sun
toned down but set favorably for late-afternoon bike rides
with a wind jacket for the shadows.

I’ve memorized the patterns of despair in your behavior.
Too many hints, There’s smoke coming out of the old church.
I predicted that long before you painted it with sad oils,
the juvenile delinquents that play there after school
and camp out on week-ends, hiding from the law, their parents,
from each other.

I hide from my own children who play in the cornfield behind
our house. You’ve painted there, catching the sun rise up
out of the ground before the dirt has had a chance to cool off.
In the end everything burns up, burns down, goes up in smoke.
There’s seldom anything left. We start over with new seeds.

I’m not certain that I’m equipped to live an endless summer.
Some things are destined to burst into flames without provocation.

John Dorroh has been traveling since he was born to US Army parents back in the Dark Ages. However, he is currently somewhat of a home body with his poetry books, pets, and friends. The pandemic helped him learn how to entertain himself but he feels that we were robbed of those years. I suppose it was a trade-off, he said. No one seems to understand why he spends so much time reading & writing except by those who also read & write. I yearn for reading my poems out loud to an audience, he admitted. Ever since he & two fellow poets were redirected from bi-monthly readings in an eclectic wood shop on the Mississippi River in southern Illinois, he has longed for another such venue. Call it a character flaw, he said. Five of his poems were nominated for Best of the Net. Others appeared in over 100 journals such as Feral, Kissing Dynamite, & River Heron. He had two chapbooks published in 2022.