top of page

Law versus Art

by William Doreski 

Erosion reveals a skeleton

buried in the riverbank.

Almost fossilized, it’s older

than New England puritan

culture, probably the relic

of a Pequot lost on a hunting trip.

We unearth without malforming it,

but when we tote it into sunlight,

it pops like a porcelain bubble. 

Every bone reduced to shrapnel

no larger than a dime. You shrug off

this small disaster, but climbing 

into the back seat of my Saab

you cough to hide your emotions,

as you always do. Let’s donate

the fragments to the museum.

The curators will chastise us

for disturbing the bones but

they can’t afford to sponsor digs

and would have let the river

carry away the remains. Why

do you always ride in the back seat?

Afraid I’ll touch you while driving

and veer off the road in shock?

This year maybe we’ll attend

the conference on Law Versus Art

and bring the exploded skeleton

to prove our thesis. Meanwhile

you hug your own skeleton 

to yourself, padding it with flesh

enough to keep curiosity

from overwhelming our friendship.




William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His latest book is City of Palms (AA Press, 2012). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His fiction, essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, Worcester Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge.  He won the 2010 Aesthetica poetry award.

Cayo Bradley

by Nina Romano 



Oh lady, lady love, I’m consumed
by your image in a locket,
escorting me down corridors of time
where facts and fictions kaleidoscope
into verse, letters, long in the longing.
The taste of mesquite on the air,
juniper on my tongue,
I’m leaving the one who loves me,
back-tracking, leading my horse
in the direction of the one I love.
In daydreams, I drift along—dry sagebrush,
tumbleweeds blowing past with soft zephyrs,
though at eventide rainfall scatters and nothing
remains save the sultry, summer night
when the swift pain of loneliness starts again.
I’m sure you know it hurts to leave,
to cross this river wild, wishing I could stay
to comfort; yet as I depart,
faraway reveries beckon  
on the distant shore,
the broad expanse
of onrushing waters.
At the top of the bluff,
I become lighter
in the embrace of soft, sun-warmed air
where bees rejoice summer,
grasshoppers travel farther, sleep less,
like the zithering beetles
flit-flying to narrow-escape landings
on the escarpment.
By nightfall, a starry backdrop
                                                of sky
a curtain of haze halos the moon,
to shine in the lee of the hill on the cabin;

as I step

            up to a pillared porch,
a view of the valley stretches below
and behind me in harmony
and in tandem
          with every fiber of my nature.
A spirit in an afterlife image,
you open the door.




Nina Romano earned an M.A. from Adelphi University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She is the author of three poetry collections: Cooking Lessons from Rock Press, submitted for the Pulitzer Prize, Coffeehouse Meditations, from Kitsune Books, and She Wouldn’t Sing at My Wedding, from Bridle Path Press. Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize.  She co-authored Writing in a Changing World.  Her debut short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, is forthcoming in 2013 from Bridle Path Press. Her new poetry collection, Faraway Confections, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.  More about the author at


Copyright Notice: Copyright in the content of this website is held by Hermes Poetry Journal. Copyright in individual poems and artwork remains with the artists and writers.


bottom of page