What Passes for Salvation in Salina, Kansas · John Dorsey

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.