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Selected Poems By:   William Doreski

(Author of the Month)


Plum Tomatoes

The plum tomatoes you’ve grown

on the oiled deck of your condo

taste as rich as Italy itself.

A sly wind topples dead trees

in the woods where I’ll hunt mushrooms

this afternoon. Maybe you also

will scout for boletus under pines

near the pond where two months ago

a child drowned so deeply his father

didn’t miss him for a week.

Maybe you’ll see that sad child walk

on the pond’s ruffled surface,

hear him call his beer-soaked father

who forgot he had a child to watch.

This evening I’ll top a salad

with your tomatoes and slices

of mushroom fresh from the woods.

Washing it down with a brand

of vodka you avoid because

not Russian, I’ll feel the miles

between us ripen as the wind,

without decreasing, renders

our names in a dozen languages

it has learned from all the children

walking oncorrugated waters

and from all the fathers coughing

those drunken sobs of regret.


The Lines of My Hands

On the trail ahead a porcupine

nibbles a twig. As I approach

it bristles like a burr, its eyes

two pinholes burnished with fear. 

When I halt a pace away

it calms to focus on the twig.

Overhead an airliner scars

the cloudy light. Manchester

to Chicago, a flight plan

familiar as the lines of my hands.

Behind me a civilized spoor

any good tracker could follow

to this moment of stasis.

The third-growth forest withholds

comment. After days of rain

mushrooms erupt as slowly

as the dawning of a new idea

while five thousand miles away

the war gnashes dozens more dead.

Between this scenario and that,

an ocean rises one inch

a decade, sure to slop over

into the world’s favorite cities.

At last the porcupine looks

hard enough through the blur

of its nearsighted world to decide

I’m too absolutely present

to ignore. With a slush of quills

it turns and sloughs toward the brush,

a black and gray rustle of matter

almost inanimate as stone.

Now I shuffle forward so gently

the further unfolding of the trail

through autumn’s first yellow leaf-fall

frightens no one, not even me.


Editor Comments:  Here is someone who writes better than I do and should be excluded for that reason alone.  Do you have any idea how this makes me feel?  This gentlemen is selected for a reason:  wonderful imagery that touches, then, goes beyond.  I knew when I read the title to the first poem I was hooked.  Look for his works anywhere you can find it.  William has most recently appeared in Notre Dame Review, Poetry Salzburg, Ars Interpres, Natural Bridge, and South Carolina Review.  He has published a critical study entitled Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors (1999) and a new collection of poetry, Another Ice Age (2007).