william doreski



The Miasma You Always Emit

A long drive south. Country roads
slip from gravel beds and crash
into rivers and drown. The maps
split along folds and confess
their sins. I tried to persuade you

to keep me company and awake,
but snug inside yourself you burrowed
more deeply into your nest
and your loverís tattoos rippled
as he applied himself in sighs.

The wooded slopes close on me
and the road dead-ends at a pond
choked with cat-tails and algae.
If you were here weíd listen
to the creak of redwing blackbirds

and gluck-chuck of the bittern;
but alone I feel too vulnerable
to the evening damp, so reverse
up the rutted track and turn right,
toward the sunset. Pavement at last,

and eventually an interstate
humming with trucks from Canada.
Yet even with radio tuned
to the Red Sox-Yankees game I feel
that miasma you always emit

now enhanced by the pond-smell
I canít get out of my head.
Maybe weíll meet at the corner
of Seventh and Forty-Second
and laugh at the tattooed lover

you abandoned at a party
in favor of a surgeon freshly
minted from the finest hospital
on the East Coast. Or maybe
Iíll read about your marriage
to the final Rockefeller heir,
the one with the wart on his nose.
Or maybe Iíve seen and heard
the last of you, red hair flashing
like a shabby battle flag,

the snoring of powerful rivers
canceling every emotion
except those steeply forested ones,
and the highways all converging
beyond the torn-off edge of the map.

William Doreski's work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently Waiting for the Angel (Pygmy Forest Press, 2009).


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