At the Colony/ William Doreski

In this damp old cabin, moss

spangles the walls and spiders

romp across the ceiling. Often

while sleeping here I’ve dreamt

of star-fire roasting treeless hills

and ape-armed women strangling

babies in their cribs. Today

as I scrub in the icy shower

a gaggle of tourists enters,

giggling because I’m naked

and a book lies open to reveal

a passage on the fall of Satan.

I chase them away by screaming

in several primary colors.

Already they’ve sent photos

by Instagram featuring me

glossy as a side of beef. Dusk

falls grazing in yellow weeds.

The cabin lacks electric power,

so with an LED lantern

I prowl through the cupboards

for a can of tomato soup.

Heat it on a propane stove.

Pour three fingers of bourbon

to wash down the briny slop.

The tourists won’t return tonight,

but tomorrow another busload

will trample through the colony,

surprising my neighbors at work

or making love, drinking, reading,

painting huge abstractions no one

will buy, writing sheaves of music

no orchestra would ever embrace.

My unfinished novel languishes

in longhand scrawls illegible

even to the author. Every day

I rethink the plot. The darkest night

in the history of humanity

presses deadweight at the window,

urging me to confess my crimes

against art and life and allow

the moss to grow right over me

so I’ll never be naked again.

 

 

The work of William Doreki has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).

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