By William Doreski
Meat rains from a cloudless sky.
Desiccated shards exploded
a hundred miles away when
the mother of all fixes occurred.
Meanwhile I’ve returned to work
in the bookstore because the owner
died of boredom and stuck me
with a sense of duty alien
to my lack of education
and dislike of sitting still for long.
Someone wants anatomy books
so I direct her to the Harvard
Medical Coop. Someone else
wants to steal the collected poems
of James Russell Lowell. Go ahead.
Wherever that vulgar rain began
someone jonesed something so badly
his lobes made fists and his bladder
inflated him into the blue.
At what height he exploded
only airline pilots know.
The bookstore’s too modest to prompt
a day’s worth of profit.
No wonder the owner ran off
to San Francisco with flowers
in his hair and checkbook flapping.
No wonder I’ve reverted thirty years
and slump at the register
with my folded hands twitching.
The meat plopping on the sidewalk
disgusts the beat cop and mailman.
They duck inside for shelter
so I serve them instant coffee
and we chat about the old days
when my reddish hair flourished
and junkies in the alley shot
the purest horse into veins as tough
as brambles. Later I‘ll declare
the bookstore bankrupt and drive home
a hundred miles with a last box
of first editions no one wants—
the flyleaves inscribed by authors
so dead the dinosaurs stomped
their graves flat, erasing all clues.
William Doreski’s work has appeared in various electric and print journals, and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).