Contorted into a storm drain
under the village, I live
a life I can easily afford.
Frustrated housewives feed me
dinners husbands don’t appreciate.
Children crawl in to poke and probe
and otherwise amuse me. Daily
I emerge to shower and shave
in the town hall, walk around town
and pose for tourists. Autumn light
flatters my wrinkles, white shriek of hair.
Rain flushes filth and debris
from my homestead, but because
I’d drown as deep as anyone else
I have to exit before the flood
and shelter under the hardware
store awning, or enter the café
where men who paint and plumb houses
complain my lack of housing
creates no business income
to help put their kids through college.
The days and seasons fester
in the world. The storm drain feels
much the same year round, body heat
warming me in winter, the natural
cool of the earth comforting me
in summer. Year after year
I elongate in my tube-space
until I’m so worm-like the people
who don’t know me gasp with surprise.
Meanwhile my pension accumulates
in the bank. Fed and housed, I live
for the sake of living, the housewives
who feed me unable to rouse
the slightest gender loyalty,
and the dark inside the storm drain
too snug to allow me to think.
by William Doreski
small crowd disperses. The air
with fragmented hymns. Sunday
feels too vague, the hills
with what Yeats called “autumn
and others call “sorrow
leaf-fall.” Somewhere a python
a full-grown man. Somewhere
bomb erupts in a trash can.
a mob of rapists
to ravish a tiny village
the men have died in war.
in the brassy roadside weeds
New Hampshire, plastic bottles
unredeemed, little crimes
define us. I consume
than my share of culture,
like the snake spend little time
mastication and far too long
digestion. This afternoon
slant of light re-sculpts the trees
suggest a Halloween terror
even tiny children believe
everyone wishes were real.
recall the garage down the street
a man hanged himself to prove
love for his unfaithful wife.
than half a century ago
tormented myself by staring
the dark of that ruin
I saw the hanged man hanging
forced him to catch my eye.
creak of rope on rafter
lingers. The whisk and shudder
windy leaves across the highway
many lost conversations;
my foolish attempt to talk
that hanged man is my only
of self-defining speech.
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).