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.
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.
Law versus Art
by William Doreski
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
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 www.ninaromano.com
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