Gassy and Yellow
Something gassy and yellow in the distance. Maybe it’s the ghost of Herman Melville looking for his favorite shipwreck. Maybe it’s the pulverized dust of an asteroid. More likely it’s a speech balloon exhaled by a small-time politician. You know, the one who likes you, his small head bobbing. You can tell by the quiver of his upper lip. Today the new snow looks grainy as old snapshots from the Brownie era. I loved my box camera. It took photographs thick and crude as flapjacks, but the images enthralled me. Note this gaggle of schoolgirls. They all could be you if only you smiled more often. Sometimes I wonder if your facial muscles have atrophied. Sometimes I suspect you of harboring a lust for ice fishing or auto racing, then frustrating yourself by failing to master the craft, art, or skill required. You shouldn’t feel alone with your thwarted ambitions. I’ve never mastered anything, but have fumbled, fuddled, and despaired from one objective to another. Maybe that gassy yellow entity isn’t a ghost or a ruin or fragment of language but a visitation from another dimension. Maybe there, if I can catch a ride, I’ll find you smiling again, your teeth as crisp as piano keys, your lips flexible enough to accommodate.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in a small house in the woods. He taught at Keene State College for many years, but has now retired to feed the deer and wild turkeys. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals and several small-press books. His forthcoming book of poetry is The Last Concert (Salmon Press).