By William Doreski
At night the dirt road’s a slit
in forest. I hunch like a gnome.
The ruts ache as bad blood seeps
from gravel, scabbing a distance
I’m afraid I’ll never cross.
Why did you move to such dark?
Why did you rattle ice cubes
in an act of grim telepathy?
I dread arriving in the absence
of the affection you’ve renounced.
Leafless maples prong the stars.
The occasional hemlock sighs
a fatuous evergreen sigh
borrowed from the Gothic novels
you’ve been reading for twenty years.
At a bend, oncoming headlights.
A drunk in a pickup swerves,
smashes against a thick old beech.
He still reeks of your sultry kisses,
so I leave him rapt in memories.
The road tilts sharply up a grade.
I drive even more slowly,
then pull into a turnout and cut
the engine and lights and listen
to silence pouring from the stars.
All that fire expended to light
your little face as you peer
from the windows of dark rooms
to see if a fresh new lover
is crawling across the landscape.
Someone always is, but “lover”
may not describe the expression
of someone afraid of falling
into an open grave, mistaking
the raw living earth for flesh.
William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught at Emerson College, Goddard College, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent books are Water Music and Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston.