William Doreski

Backyard Speedboat

There’s something all-American
about storing a boat propped up
on concrete blocks in the yard.

A lapstrake white wooden hull
capped with a blue superstructure,
big outboard motor smirking.

Someone could launch this speedboat
to rescue this neighborhood
if hurricane or sea-rise floods it.

A junky old yellow sedan
keeps the boat company. Clapboard
and shingled gables oversee

the scruffy, graveled back yard.
Chimneys and power poles assert
land rights, verticals prevailing.

But come summer enough this boat
will enter the proper waters
and leave mockery in its wake.

This Desperate Suburb

Moving to this desperate suburb
hasn’t solved the purple light
guttering through our bodies
or snuffed the tinnitus singing

in the intersections of sky.
The kitchen painted pink and green,
the attic heaving with ghosts,
the bathroom pipes coughing,

the bedroom heaving like the sea
conspire to render us cubist.
I don’t remember the street-name,
our new phone number, even

the town whose jurisdiction
we’ve challenged by residing here.
You’re outside in the rain.
and I can’t work the lock to ease you

back into the troubled world
of dusty floral wallpaper
and baseboards punctured by mice
that whisper in French and Spanish

to tease us as we try to sleep.
At last I pry open the dark
and find your sodden temper fussing.
You agree that ill health will follow,

like bill collectors braving
savage dogs and nasty glances.
You agree that leaving the house
we owned for forty years and renting

in this sodden burg made no sense.
But coyotes drove us away
with their endless, ominous howling,
and the creak of smoky figures

ascending from the basement
forced us to sell everything cheap.
Now the crypts have spewed more bones
to litter streets we can’t name,

and the weather has so internalized
that our forces can’t replenish.
We sit in the garish kitchen
drinking straight from the bottle.

We hope the midnight will pass
while the violet light remains
too dim to exhume the stones
we swallowed when we were young.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall.