Thursday, June 23, 2011


A Shopping Cart Full of Groceries

The day you ran a shopping cart
full of groceries off the bridge
I was fussing with my computer,
trying to erase a virus.

I didn’t detect your protest.
The shallow brown river below
the rusty former railroad bridge
sports ten or fifteen shopping carts,

but only yours went over laden
with two hundred dollars worth
of meats and vegetables, dog food,
dish detergent, bread, and soda.

Dusk found you weeping in tall weeds.
Mosquitoes unzipped the sultry air.
Someone found you and phoned for help.
Alert at last to disturbance

in the ether, I stepped outside and sniffed
the dying light. I didn’t learn
until recently how you screamed
when the police arrived to claim you.

The river has since digested
your groceries, and the crazy look
you adopted that humid evening
has toughened like a marble mask.

Where Herons Nest

At the marsh where herons nest,
insects dazzle the humid air.
Peering at the herons posing
in their massive stick constructions,
I feel the distance between us
smother me in plies of summer heat.
The mosquitoes and blackflies flirt
in the weepy atmosphere. Bloodlust
rhymes with sex, as vampires teach us,
but I’ve spritzed myself with repellant
so I can watch the herons awhile.

Repopulated year after year,
these nests perch in drowned trees that
eventually will topple and spill
into the greasy water where frogs
and turtles will applaud. Once
I saw a heron feed a turtle
to its chick. Unable to crack
the shell, the chick dropped the turtle
thirty feet back into the marsh,
where it paddled away unhurt.
That turtle had a story to tell.

Once I dreamt of being stranded
in one of those nests built high
above shallow water. The tree trunk
too slippery to cling and descend,
I had to call over the forest,
my voice rattling like foil, failing
in a yellow sky. That’s what it’s like
to die with no one listening—
the stagnant marsh reeking of leaf rot
and the bulging eyes of frogs turned up
in hope of seeing me fall.

About William Doreski:
William Doreski's work has appeared in a bunch of magazines.

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