William Doreski

Burglarizing a Neighbor

Burglarizing a neigh­bor whose wealth
includes flats in London and Rome,
we excite our­selves so deeply
we have to wres­tle on his bed
until we shed our skins and explode.
Shuddering with after­math, we raid
his refrig­er­a­tor and gorge
on pink slices of Polish ham
washed down with expen­sive Bordeaux.

Otherwise we touch lit­tle,
steal noth­ing. Paintings by Jim Dine,
Francis Bacon, Warhol, Lucien Freud
express them­selves in drape-drawn rooms
fun­gal with antiques loot­ed
from shops in France and Germany.
We dance on a Chinese car­pet
as his Conrad-Johnson stereo
plays Artie Shaw big-band hits.
We’re hop­ing he’ll catch us drunk
in his cher­ry-pan­eled library
with Jung’s col­lect­ed works sprawled
open to com­pet­ing dis­cus­sions
of the vast col­lec­tive uncon­scious
every­one loves to invoke.

But he’s in Tokyo clos­ing a deal,
and unless we tell him some day
over drinks at the local pub
he’ll nev­er know we sac­ri­ficed
two vir­gins of crime on his bed,
will nev­er miss the ham or Bordeaux,
and nev­er know why his paint­ings
now gaze at him with the pity
once reserved for the cuck­old
too slow to notice the fur­ni­ture
of his life has moved one inch.


In Honor of Your Feelings

At Bob’s Chinese Barbecue
I sam­ple Bob’s free sam­ples
while you flirt so out­ra­geous­ly

he and I laugh. The pork ribs grin
as well, sea­soned to flat­ter
emo­tions some hope to accom­plish.

You, though, express more bold­ly
than secret Chinese spices
the lust you hope to wres­tle

from my state of res­ig­na­tion.
Bob’s food bright­ens us both,
but not even the sac­ri­fice

of many, many hogs can inspire
a long­ing for the inter­sec­tions
of your frank but stan­dard body.

No use describ­ing your­self
as a table-ready Renoir nude.
No use tit­ter­ing that hands

as greasy as mine require wash­ing
before deploy­ment on your­self.
I’m too old to wash any­thing

to flat­ter another’s ego.
Bob enjoys our lit­tle dra­ma,
his grave brown eyes water­ing

with sen­ti­ment. As sun­down ripens
in a notch of pine hills you sigh
a patent­ed sigh, and for this

I’m expect­ed to drop to all fours,
then rise and praise you all over.
But you should be sat­is­fied

that the hogs that died for this meal
clap their trot­ters to applaud you,
and note that yel­low light bulbs strung

around Bob’s park­ing lot are teeth
bared in hon­or of the feel­ings
you think too play­ful to regret.


A Further Evolution

Sometimes a blotch of sea­wa­ter
the size of an anti-tank mine
thick­ens and becomes car­niv­o­rous.
The spe­cif­ic grav­i­ty ris­es

and a grim intel­li­gence pre­vails.
When one of these blotch­es attacked you
I had to tow­el it off you
before it poi­soned your blood­stream.

Now we’ve decid­ed to track
these rot­ten spots to their lair.
In a steel-hulled boat we trace
a string of these evil blobs,

scat­tered half a mile apart,
to a lone­ly spot off Madaket
where the refrac­tive sur­face lies flat
despite the pre­vail­ing east wind.

I lance the sore with a boathook
and feel some­thing hor­ri­ble writhe.
You in your lim­ber swim­suit look
undu­ly pleased at the agony

I’ve stirred up. After awhile
the fluc­tu­a­tions cease. We cruise
back to har­bor, dock the boat,
and step ashore as heroes

of our own lives. Later I baste
the sore spot on your leg where
that blotch attempt­ed to drain you
of every­thing I’ve tried to love.

Kissing the flesh to heal it,
I taste some­thing bit­ter, and when
I look in your eyes I real­ize
how sea-green we’ve both become.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His most recent col­lec­tion of poet­ry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has pub­lished three crit­i­cal stud­ies, includ­ing Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poet­ry, fic­tion, and reviews have appeared in many jour­nals, includ­ing Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge.