John Dorsey

What Passes for Salvation in Salina, Kansas

you cannot buy beer here after midnight
but we watch as a strung out girl 
in camouflage yoga pants ties one off 
in a gas station parking lot near iron ave
history just moves slower here
with its tall waitresses & buckwheat pancakes 
just looking for a little laughter
it’s poetry in motion 
waiting for the punchline 
on handwritten checks 
from the local diner
the billboard in the center of town
says that you can have a hysterectomy your way
that’s what drives tourism now
removing parts of a whole
with lingering doubts
on our tired tongues
silence is the only form of currency
that the wind seems to recognize
we just accept its terms
& go inside
we are all alone at the party
no matter what time it is
tomorrow all of this
will be someone else’s problem.

John 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) and Your Daughter's Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He may be reached at