Three Poems by William Doreski

One Anodized Moment

In the parking garage at dawn
the rows of cars nose the lean
moon setting over the suburbs.
I lie back and listen to ticks
of engines cooling; the air,

although November, sultry
enough to spoon and eat.
Driving this far this early
has warped me to fit a space
I usually don’t occupy.

Later I’ll share this space with you
and your frankly remodelled outlook.
We’ll stroll in the Public Garden
past the great bronze Washington
and sit beneath your favourite tree.

We’ll paw each other like children
and pretend our lives haven’t passed
in gales of debt and politics
but have birthed themselves over
and over until perfected.

But for one anodized moment
here in the parking garage
the moon settling in the west
is a hole through which I’m passing
to reach the innocence beyond.



Black and White Stripes

Tangled in black and white stripes
you look imprisoned. I rumple
the bedclothes to free you
to unwind your sweaty limbs.

The distant view at the window
beams as we play at being
ourselves and not the others
we always meet on the street.

The view, a slur of high-tops
soaring from the MIT campus
and foreground of slouching townhouses,
casts shadows that mimic the black

and white stripes of your cotton sheets.
How wonderful to sprawl here
with the city bracing itself
for another round of lovemaking.

Morning traffic sharks forward,
always forward, and the cries
of young people on the street invoke
the entire forty years we lost,

losing each other; and now
we have this heap of crumpled linen
and our bodies gleaming, polished
by so many lifetimes of use.



November Song

In watercolour autumn dawn
you’re singing off-key to the cats
to amuse them as you slop

canned food onto their dishes.
This morning your dental appointment
looms like the Rosetta stone,

both an object and an event.
Tomorrow at the hand clinic
in Boston I’ll offer my paw

for appraisal as if an old dog
had learned a new trick. Gradually
our bodies undermine us.

The middle-aged son of our friends
in Wilton is dying of cancer—
fluids pouring into fluids

that otherwise would never mingle.
The sister-in-law of a colleague
suffers with a ventilator

and can move only two fingers
with which on a tablet she types
words she hopes will memorialize

the collapse of all her systems.
The pale light in the white pines
looks plain enough to accept

the faintest scrawls of language,
yet nothing occurs except a crow,
and in the malleable distance

a V of Canada geese. A scrape
of leafless maples excites
for a moment. Then the chill

recovers its poise, retaining
only your voice trebling
in the kitchen, and the cats

responding with cries of pleasure
that back in nature they’d reserve
for the triumph of a kill.



WILLIAM DORESKI recently retired after years of teaching at Keene State College in New Hampshire (USA). His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals. You can follow him on Twitter @wdoreski and find more of his work on his blog,


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