The land in Nevada seems barren

like evil witch skin until you get

a better view. Start with a


close-up of crater valley, five shades

of brown, the ochre lip of serious

plummage, cracked ridge,


circular but not perfectly so, its irregular

features staring up at feathery wisps

of malnourished clouds.


Something as forceful as god rearranged

what once was, what once lay dormant,

dehydrated rivers, quivering


with geologic memories, nothingness pre-

served, dead sea, land succession bolted,

flat-lined except for mountain


ridges, curved, curling up toward bleak sky.

Ancient birds, vectors of pestilence, rise

from pink ash beds, illuminating


the very place I stand. I reach out, I reach

up, grasping at history’s breath, pulling it

in on top of me, seeking resurrection


of soul, spirit, body; acknowledging

the eminent passing of all that I am

into the hot mouth of time.


John Dorroh

Whether John Dorroh taught any secondary science is still being discussed. He did manage, however, to show up at 6:45 every morning with at least three lesson plans and a thermos of robust Colombian. His poetry has appeared in about 80-85 journals, including Dime Show Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Os Pressan, Feral, Selcouth Station, and Red Dirt Forum/Press. He also writes short fiction and the occasional rant.

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