Poetry

William Doreski

By  | 

Resisting the Intelligence

Resting on the edge of the moon

where it grazes the staggered tree line

I lean into the flavours and drift.

Your room in Paris also overlooks

odours and tastes of varied moods,

but the dead fish haunting the Seine

sours many famous properties

worth millions of Euros. You love

this clash of decay and fashion,

in which the city skyline cringes

the way my New England tree line

does, folding into itself

at the first wrinkle of dawn.

So much has yawned itself foolish—

the years we wasted face to face,

the books the library discarded,

the loot from the last Brink’s robbery.

Remember the man in the pub

in Forest Hills, who blathered

about that famous crime a week

before it happened? He was the stiff

the cops found locked in a car

behind our Beacon Street apartment.

The moon is barely round enough

to hold my weight. The tree line hurts

by abrading my delicate eyes.

I’d rather be looking at the seam

where your body meets your spirit,

a sea-coloured horizon misty

with summer heat. But the autumn

has its way. The ghost of that man

still loiters in the alley, cadging

pennies from anyone who passes.

Paris also features certain ghosts

from the Occupation era

when the blackout prevailed. Soon

it will return, sealing us both

in that gray unlimited vacuum

where we may consort as we please—

the fish-smell dispersing

as we rest our elbows on the moon

in a comforting lack of air.

 

Your Autumn Dance

This flu shot stings more deeply

than last year’s did. The needle

scratches the interior landscape

in which you display your graces

with diaphanous gestures broad

enough to include forest and lakes

and whole cities glowing at dusk.

The pain alerts me to erosion

that exposes bedrock studded

with quartz and tourmaline crystals

and slabbed with mica sandwiches.

With roots undermined, spruce and pine

topple into gullies. Great cities

find sewage and water pipes broken

in a soup of sullen infections.

You dance across this disaster,

fluttering like the one Luna moth

I saw this summer. The nurse withdraws

the needle, pops it into a box

of disposable sharps. She’s pregnant

with her first child, leaning forward

into the long slope of motherhood.

Your child, grown and with a daughter,

occupies a landscape much like yours

and mine, but still uneroded, fresh

with clear mountain brooks tinkling

down to villages where sheep and ducks

crowd narrow lanes and horse-drawn

wagons deliver bottled milk.

You read this landscape into her

at an early age. Mine suffered

post-agrarian blues from the start,

so when you began to inhabit

the misty lowlands the general mood

of the unseen populace brightened.

The prick of the needle reminds me

how fragile this landscape has become,

requiring earnest conservation

and the replanting of large tracts

with paths reserved for your passage

and wood chips to cushion your step.

 

                                          WILLIAM DORESKI                                              

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