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Poetry Fall 2013    fiction    all issues


Chris Joyner
Wrestlemania III
& other poems

Carey Russell
Visiting Hours
& other poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Cabinet of Wonders
& other poems

Jonathan Travelstead
Prayer of the K-12
& other poems

Jennifer Lowers Warren
Our Daughter's Skin
& other poems

Jeff Burt
The Mapmaker's Legend
& other poems

Patricia Percival
Giving in to What If
& other poems

Toni Hanner
& other poems

Christopher Dulaney
& other poems

Suzanne Burns
Window Shopping
& other poems

Katherine Smith
Mountain Lion
& other poems

Peter Kent
Surliness in the Green Mountains
& other poems

William Doreski
Gathering Sea Lavender
& other poems

Huso Liszt
Fresco, The Forlorn Virgin...
& other poems

Clifford Hill
How natural you are
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

David Kann
Dead Reckoning
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Music of As Is
& other poems

Tori Jane Quante
Creatio ex Materia
& other poems

G. L. Morrison
Baba Yaga
& other poems

Joe Freeman
In a Wood
& other poems

George Longenecker
Bear Lake
& other poems

Benjamin Dombroski
South of Paris
& other poems

Ryan Kerr
& other poems

Josh Flaccavento
Glen Canyon Dam
& other poems
& other poems

Christine Stroud
& other poems

Abraham Moore
Inadvertent Landscape
& other poems

Chris Haug
Cow with Parasol
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Fiberglass Madonna
& other poems

Emily Hyland
The Hit
& other poems

Sam Pittman
Growth Memory
& other poems

Alex Linden
The Blues of In-Between
& other poems

Bobby Lynn Taylor
& other poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Alia Neaton
Cosmogony I
& other poems

Elisa Albo
Each Day More
& other poems

Noah B. Salamon
& other poems

William Doreski

Gathering Sea Lavender

Gathering sea lavender

in salt marshes south of Brunswick

we ease ourselves into contours

so gentle they don’t show on maps.

Only the washboard effect

of successive waves of lavender

reveals a dainty presence.

Sea lavender sells for five

dollars a spray in Boston,

but we’re harvesting just enough

to warm us one dreary winter,

a candelabra as nostalgic

as my mother’s genealogy.

Last night when the wind banged the doors

in our rented cottage and the tide

swept our neighbor’s dory from the beach,

we felt each other quicken in sleep

as we both dreamt of gathering

sea lavender in brilliant light.

I also dreamt, quite separately,

that a former lover came home

to sort through my possessions

and take away what pleased her,

especially sentimental

items like the shard of slate

from the Deerfield Massacre stone,

the purple ribbon from Robert

Lowell’s grave, the small glass cat

that was my first gift from my wife.

No wonder when morning came

I proposed we scout the marshes

for sea lavender, despite the rain,

our bodies still uneasy

upon us, the briny damp

revealing as X-rays or radar,

the losses of our previous lives

reflected by the stony fog

and empowered by the radiance

ignited by our love of the sea.

Hurricanes Named After Us

The season’s first two hurricanes

have named themselves after us.

As they plow across the Atlantic

toward Florida, we drift over

books we’ve admired all our lives.

You’re still retreating from Moscow

in the bosom of War and Peace

while I drift along the equator

in the doldrums of Moby-Dick.

Your storm will cross to the Gulf

before mine. Your violence spent

on the cringing Everglades, you’ll ease

long before reaching Galveston,

while passing south of the Keys I’ll trip

unimpeded down to Veracruz

and shatter on Mexico’s highlands.

The summer heat drips from the trees

in long greasy strings of drool.

Your air-conditioned townhouse

insulates you from the silence

that centers in my tiny house

as though a giant foot has crushed

the finest of my earthly functions.

Soon the fall semester will fill

our datebooks. Scholarly poise

will sculpt you upright and prim,

but I’ll slump like Igor to class

and growl and frighten young women

and make the stoned young fellows laugh.

Neither of us look like hurricanes,

but the government knows better,

and named its storms as precisely

as decorum allows. Enjoy

your book. Palm Beach and Miami

curse you, but don’t worry. Soon enough

the sun will shine in your wake,

while safely offshore the hurricane

named for me will parallel you,

but diverging as subtly

as I do almost every day.

Truro: the Bay Side

Watching blunt men surf-cast sand worms,

you want to learn to catch the groundfish

we sauté and eat with gusto.

But flounder, halibut, and cod

avoid shallow bays. Rockfish, croakers,

bluegills, shad, bluefish. If you hook

a big one—a forty-pound bluefish—

it could drag you into the water

where you’d squeal in Technicolor

until I dragged you out again.

These long July days seem delicate

and blue-white as Delft pottery.

The sky revolves on a pivot

about a hundred miles overhead.

The surf-casters mutter to themselves

but rarely speak to each other

and never to us or the other sun

people scattered on the seamless beach.

Maybe at dusk when fish are biting

I’ll rent a casting rod and teach you

to fling bait far enough to tease

a cruising striper to strike. Maybe

you’ll catch one. But then you’ll cry

for the pain you’ve inflicted. You’ll free

the creature back to its netherworld,

and for the next few hours regret

that you ever invaded its space.

The Posthumous Look of a Diner

The posthumous look of a diner

on a hot Vermont afternoon

forces me to stop for lunch.

The parking lot saddens, one car

angled in the shade, the gravel

stippled and rutted and weedy

where a wooden picnic table

crumbles with decay. The metal

sheathing has dented. Concrete steps

trip me into gloom. The waitress

sags with adolescent splendor,

hunching to avert herself

from my potentially male gaze.

I order with downcast eyes

so she doesn’t have to blush.

Three ceiling fans rotate slowly,

and an air conditioner rattles

in its window perch, a chilly sigh

exuding like the breath of a tomb.

The other customers, a couple

in their eighties, leave a tip

shining on the table and depart.

Stevie Wonder on the radio

sings something from the Seventies.

The waitress proffers coffee. I nod

as politely as I dare, vacant stools

rebuking me for being here,

booths haunted by food-smells

many years old. The ski crowd

will pack this place winter weekends,

but the summer glare exposes

the delicate grease-film embalming

the fixtures, the ground-in filth

of the tile floor dutifully mopped

every evening, and the fatal

heart attacks ghosting from a grill

tended with care by a cook so lean

the waitress, if she weren’t so shy,

could strum his ribs like a harp.

Milkweed Days

Across the Fremont land the wisps

of milkweed flutter like strands

of exploded cobweb. I palm

a half-pod and crumple it

to feel the papery compression,

then feed the fragments to the breeze.

When I was six I pestered

Joanne Szluc with sticky tangles

of milkweed filaments. Armed

with the milk squeezed from the leaves,

I pawed the mess into her hair.

The cottony fibers were white

as Grandma’s earnest and faintly

senile gaze, so Joanne cried

that I’d made a hag of her.

We stared at each other a moment,

thrilled that she’d used the word “hag.”

The tattered milkweed stalks relaxed

as we ran off laughing; then later,

to punish, she pushed me face-down

into garden mulch, and I let her.

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. He won the 2010 Aesthetica poetry award.

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