Telegraphy of rain on snow. The black and white of the day enhanced by shades of gray slush simplify the village, revealing a grimace of frustrated passion almost every citizen enjoys. Crouched in the little café, I try to avoid drifting out the door and into clouds a mile or two overhead, leaving my shadow staring up, outraged because abandoned. Recently I dreamt the blizzard dream, knee-deep in dark as tough as dough. I dreamed of my family, long gone, my pets buried in lonely places, my diplomas fallen from the walls of vacant, burnt-out houses. The rooms of those houses filled with snow blown a thousand miles from the frozen lakes of Winnipeg. When I woke to the chitter of plows I knew I’d sinned more honestly that I had ever sinned before. The coffee has cooled in my cup so I rise to refresh it. The room tilts, but I’ve learned to survive a certain lack of dimension, and make it back to my table without spilling a single drop.
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.
This poem won the third place prize in the Crystal Ox poetry contest in Winter 2023.