Panic in the face of the moon
mirrored in your lustrous expression.
Something about the snow melting
the tracks the bobcat inscribed
this morning stalking red squirrels.
Your rejection of nostalgias
lays you open to fantastic
projections of a future those
descended from Irish or Polish
Catholics are sure to regret.
The drunken outburst following
a dear friend’s fatal wedding.
The haunted second-floor bedroom
of that stucco house in Woburn.
The walk along the railroad
beside Fresh Pond where a storm
exposed the skeleton of a dog.
Those past scenes no longer apply.
Breezes scatter their debris
as you draw the curtains so the moon
can’t empathize as usual.
I’d pour us a decent red wine,
maybe a Napa Valley merlot,
but I’m afraid your blood would rush
to cancel this ashen moment,
which despite your dread I enjoy.
I dare you to remember the gasp
of hurricane on Duxbury Marsh—
wind-driven tide stranding us
in our flimsiest summer clothing.
But the panic has already passed,
and with it the history you wrote
and then burned in the woodstove
the night of golden winter thunder
when you decided you no longer
liked a bitter taste on your tongue.
~ William Doreski
William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent books of poetry are City of Palms and June Snow Dance, both published in 2012. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.
Artwork: Resentment, by Hashim Ali