William Doreski

Adultery on the Costa del Sol

The kitchen sink overflows
in a slur and curse of suds.
You left the faucet open
while you wrote a novel about
adultery on the Costa del Sol.

While I’m mopping up the mess
you’re selling the movie rights
to a producer known for his love
of whips, black leather, and handcuffs
liberally applied to starlets.

As I sponge up the last puddles,
FedEx arrives with copies
of the first hardcover edition.
You could have finished washing
the dishes before responding

to a stroke of inspiration but
I admit you type much faster
than me, and understand the market
for sublunary fiction even
illiterates can’t stop reading.

After I dry the floor with a rag
and hang up the mop to dry,
I’m going to retreat to my room
where I hope to write a sonnet
in memory of my last dear friend.

I just heard he died while reading
your new novel, his frozen
expression suggesting fright,
shame, shock, or the sublime awe
everyone feels in your wake.

Close the Window

Close the window and shut out
the noise of a nation weeping.
Nothing special has happened,
only an onslaught of deerflies.
gnats, and other stinging critters
eager to consume our fluids.

Maybe it’s politics as usual,
but I still don’t want to hear
the hucksters sawing the limbs
off corpses and selling them
to dictatorships endowed with
Favored Nation status.

Listen to me rave like a raven.
I should brew a cup of Typhoo Tea
and settle into a novel
by Henry James. Unwinding
his sentences should absorb me
back into myself, where I belong.

You’re the political creature—
ranting about crazed hillbillies
erupting from mountain villages
to run for the Senate while flashing
grins of forensic dentistry
too expert for voters to resist.

You alert me to book burnings
involving the memoirs of men
whose pederasty seems the least
of their many famous sins.
Another day of thunder looms,
warping the western horizon.

Shut the windows against the rain
and I’ll brew tea for both of us.
The grief of the nation is also
the sound of big trees falling
in a big wind no one predicted
but everyone knew was coming.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021).  He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

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