By William Doreski
A Cloud Mountain
The dusk above Epping bulks
with black cloud on blue-black sky.
The blur of oncoming headlights
ribbons in a tough endless glitter.
We’re driving west toward Manchester
but appear about to drill a hole
in a nameless, unmapped mountain.
The oncoming cars have escaped
a crushing and desolate fate
toward which our lane of taillights
rushes without hesitation.
We’re too overwrought to parse
the illusion of a huge mountain
that dissolves as dark overflows
and swallows the sky’s geometries.
You focus so firmly on driving
that I must keep us both awake
with unnatural chatter about
the numbing flatness of Southeast
New Hampshire, the over-lit
gas stations and convenience stores
crouched beside every off-ramp.
Driving headlong into the night
we’re so engorged with traffic
that our bodies tense with the pain
of an accident that won’t occur
but still lurks around every bend
with its blue and red lights flashing.
Of Such Music
A few sick chords begin the day.
Music dies with its musicians.
The white hair of the last one
had spun fine as cotton candy
He entered a cloud and faded.
You were not his principal fan
but related to his music the way
hermit crabs relate to their shells.
I remember only a few songs
written in the yellow haze
of our mutually wayward youth.
Lately his name arose with sighs
for our crumpled adolescence.
He had to unstring his guitar
before someone did it for him.
Maybe it was the same blue guitar
that played things as they really are.
More likely it was a stock Fender
with its brilliant lacquer keening.
Today a new storm is brewing.
Winter likes to erase our tracks
over and over, leaving us shy
and breathless in sudden dark
of severed rural power lines.
Our portable generator strikes
loud and immutable chords
that ring up to a mile away.
Of such music are we made—
our bodies tingling with fear
of the night, every dream tainted.
Color and Discolor
Last night you phosphoresced blue
but this morning you’re plain as salt.
I also lost my tint and feel drab
enough to roll naked in the snow.
The new day bristles like hedgehogs.
Its parameters might confuse us,
but landmarks like the Civil War
statue and town house weathervane
retain their lack of significance.
Despite the bland and creamy outlook
we should prepare ourselves for passions
only desperate moments arouse.
Those never occur in daylight, though—
only when stars peer through mist
to endorse the great adulteries.
How often have we framed ourselves
to hang in the famous museums?
How often has the paint peeled
from our carefully limned portraits
to expose flesh instead of canvas?
No wonder your pale blue faded
as badly as my sickly green.
No wonder the snowstorm feels
so tentative dispensing its favors.
Let’s brave the icy village roads
and sidle down to the cafe
where drinking coffee discolors
everyone to the same drab shade.
About the Author
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Dogs Don’t Care (2022). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.