Like Many Giant Footprints

By William Doreski

The cold wind tastes of stone.
You claim that despair stalks friends,
poaching in their teacups and slurring
their favorite words. The post office
slumps on its foundations. Mail
from the last century still awaits
delivery, gummed flaps muttering.
Several generations later, stones
will be plastic-cast in China

and our skeletons will display
themselves in dusty shop windows
where merchants sell legalized drugs
in pouches sewn from our hides.
Meanwhile the wind plunges and plunges
with the angst of dolphins hunted
to extinction. Shoppers toting bags
of primary goods recall
their childhoods in other nations,

even if born here in a welter
of sticky limbs. You want to warn them
that when the snowdrifts melt
certain clues will emerge. Maybe
diamond tiaras stolen too late
to catch the evening news. Maybe
cigar butts that crawled from Cuba
to subvert fat-headed old men
who always vote Republican.

The newly kindled sunlight fails
to deter the wind from prying
into our open pores and scalding
tears we’ve saved for our funerals.
But you laugh your rhinestone laugh
and note that wherever volcanoes
burst the earth new opportunities
follow, like many giant footprints
leading to the planet’s far edge.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire and teaches at Keene State College. His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.