TWO POEMS – William Doreski

Posted: March 6, 2012 in Fiction, Poetry
Tags: , , , ,


To get there from here, cut a stick

as long as you’re tall, kiln dry

for six months, peel and sand, finish

with turpentine and linseed oil.


Vault, don’t walk, the entire ten miles.

You arrive in midsummer dusk.

Shingle-sided houses festooned

with Dutchman’s pipe, wisteria,


and clematis greet you with sneers

of dying sunlight reflected

on windows too dusty to see through.

A church abandoned to Satan


stoops to examine your passport,

if you have one. A general store

offers gallons of cheap red wine

to bathe in rather than drink.


You wave your stick at the bats

flocking in the twilight. Crude

flight patterns punctuate air

too earth-toned to easily breathe.


You vault the last few yards to knock

at a friend’s door. Your last visit

ended in a bell-shaped quarrel,

but you’ve forgiven yourself and hope


your friend has finally ripened

into whom she should want to be.

The plank door creaks open. Plaster

has collapsed in the vacant rooms.


Mice nest in the torn carpet.

Your friend, you realize, also

cut a stick, kiln-dried and finished it,

and vaulted ten miles the other way.


You passed each other on the road

but didn’t recognize the loping vault,

the style. The shingled houses

gloom and gossip. The general store


closes at nine. Better collect

your required ten gallons of wine

and wash yourself so thoroughly

your friend will recognize you


despite the moss and lichen

spangled on the local tombstones

against which you lean gleaming

with stark marmoreal leer.



Posed before a blue cheese salad

in the faculty dining room,

you affirm that you’re pregnant,

and shatter in a thousand tears.


You expect me to comfort you

in public, but the faces turned

our way suggest Easter Island;

so I’d prefer that the father


of your theoretical child

assume the role he has earned.

On Harvard Street, magnolias

whisper in the creamy glare.


Strolling home after ditching you

at the door of your lecture room,

I note how traffic has rutted

a trough into the avenue,


making it difficult to cross.

Also the new skyscraper droops

like a runny nose. Also the drug

addicts who line up at dusk


at the methadone clinic has dressed

for dinner, their Rolex watches

ticking, their strung pearls glinting.

I cross by hopping on taxi roofs


and reach my condo and find

a line of strangers waiting to use

the one bathroom. Disgusted

by the whining children attached


to bulky mothers, I believe

your tears, believe that terror,

not sex alone, fathered your child.

Seated on the front stoop to watch


feral cats play in the shrubbery,

I compose an apology

to send you telepathically

and hope that you’ll forgive me—


hope you won’t name your unborn child

for the blood-pink sunset people

I’ve hurt in my oafish way

confuse with their open wounds.



  1. I like the concept in both of these poems, but feel they could be much shorter and still get the same point across, thus more effectively delivering their messages. Good work, especially on the latter poem, but some over-attention to detail here kills the poem for me.

    • Wiliam Doreski says:

      So is the point of poetry to get a point across? I’ve never thought so, whcih may be why my poems displease you.

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