William Doreski – 2 poems

Depicted by Hieronymus Bosch

 

 

The forest creeps a little closer

to overhear my phone calls

and learn if I think the sky

will fall in pieces or as one

gigantic plastic membrane.

The trees have reason to worry.

 

 

Their plumes of foliage droop

in a toxic atmosphere no one

should breathe unless depicted

by Hieronymus Bosch. You agree

that we should fly to Holland

to enjoy the Bosch exhibit,

 

 

but your passport has expired

and you won’t be photographed

for a new one because you look

too old and tired to travel.

The forest nods as we converse.

Crows spackle the windy glare.

 

Chickadees percolate at feeders.

I want to hang up on you

and recover the youth wasted

on being young. The city

you haunt looms taller than hills

in Kansas or Wisconsin.

 

 

Its lights bleed the night sky pallid.

Its bridges knit together worlds

that don’t really love each other.

Hearing your voice originate

two hundred miles southwest

of me generates sensations

 

trees would mistake for beavers

gnawing at their trunks. I wave

to the crows, the windy treetops,

the bobcat who daily prowls

for mice that gather seed-scraps

beneath the feeders. You note

 

how distracted I seem. The trees

agree that the sky will fall soon,

but I can’t speak loudly enough

to assure them that such collapse

will only slightly mar the cosmos

and leave most of the stars intact.

 

 

🍃

 

 

Drift Threatens

 

An exploded map of Paris

marked with arrows of varied

thickness tracking tendencies

of pedestrians to wander this

way or that, pursuing the error

someone called “dérive” or “drift.”

 

 

These psychogeographic

gradients are difficult to trace,

but I catch them in your expression

as you grind gears while mired

in memory, a sinkhole into which

the ugliest silences creep

 

to reproduce and fester in swarms.

We can’t determine who asked whom

to marry on a drab August day

when cicadas chirred in the elms

no more than we can follow this map

because Paris has not exploded

 

and the erring ways of flaneurs

entered us well before our births.

Drift threatens, yes, but the cries

of unborn generations tangle

in the shrubbery where last year’s

strings of Christmas lights still lurk.

 

Your face, a map of our long,

long lives together and apart,

accommodates a smile so brilliant

that being beheaded by it

would be a privilege. The map

amuses but doesn’t instruct.

 

 

The arrows look like schooling fish

and the white space flowing amid

selected and depicted quarters

reminds me how blank you look

when your featured ghosts appear,

dragging us both behind them.

 

🍃

 

William Doreski

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