Write What You Know || John Cullen

At sixty, I pee
all day, and sometimes
at night. I say, “Sorry,”
to my wife, as I toss
covers and the cat
for the bathroom. If I’m lucky
and drank beer
before bed, I may go
even more. My dog objects
to the word “pee” in a poem.
Objection noted, I smile,
but it’s difficult not to
speak of tides
floating the journey’s boat.
My doctor’s fingerprint
identified the prostate blossoming
with age and pressuring
the bladder, a natural event
given my years. She ran the tests:
“Nothing to worry about.”
Easy for her. She’s not cramping
her style checking for restrooms
or imagining the slow flow
of a three-hour meeting.
At night, the waterfalls
in the ornamental pond
gives me nightmares.
I try to hold on
to positive thoughts, imagining
myself, like Ulysses,
turning hard to port
sighting home, after plotting
a course by constellations.
Others I know
are not so lucky,
but I think I should be
permitted a small complaint.
I chart a course
by the constellation Stick
Man on the bathroom door.

John Cullen graduated from SUNY Geneseo and currently teaches at Ferris State University. His work has appeared recently in American Journal of Poetry, Grist, Moon City Review, and Harpur Palate.


We read submissions on a rolling basis

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get notified about news and postings