Caper's Poets

Blue Lantern — William Doreski

Determined to catch me sinning,

you accuse me of attending

synagogue with atheist intent

and of buying heroin to give

to grammar-school kids. No wonder

you once caused a train wreck—bodies

arrayed by the track, a pair

of locomotives locked like stags.

Good thing we didn’t marry

after graduating high school

as your drunken father insisted.

He obsessed on your sex life

and now he drools in the nursing home

where the nurses think he’s cute.

Snow piles up in the alleys.

Rat-tracks simper from trash can

to trash can. Your flat overlooks

the site of a notorious fire.

They hauled a hundred carcasses

from the wreckage. You inspired

that disaster by staring intently

at the people going in and out

of the night club in the basement.

Upstairs, where the fire started,

a lone ghost prowled with blue lantern,

which you read as the emblem

of the life we failed to share. Now

enshrouded in wealth, you regret

nothing but the failure to catch me

in sins worse than yours. You crouch

by your gas fireplace and warm

the palms of your hands and pretend

you’re going to brand me with scorching

I’ll never shed; but black ice

scours the winter streets, concealing

the places where I’ve bled for you.


Filed under: Issue 3, William Doreski, ,

Evil Ballerina Naked in Snowstorm — William Doreski

The evil ballerina poses

naked in a snowstorm. Her skin

is the rind of a melon except

where the seams pucker. Photos

will prove she was manufactured,

not born. Wielding your camera,

you feel great crosscurrents flow

from one art form to another.

At last she dances, defying wind

from the northeast. You snap photo

after photo, but the snow blurs

the features for which the public

will pay real money, while the cold

by rippling and combing trees

whispers of intimate moments

ordinary people rarely share.

The evil ballerina prances

amid the drifts. She leaves tracks

dainty as deer-prints. Her body’s pale

as the storm, and for a moment

you wonder if she’s really there.

But she explodes on tiptoe, flaunting

her neutral expression to spite

desires only masochists indulge.

You wrap a blanket around her

and guide her toward the warm indoors

to confide woman to woman.

But she breaks away and twirls

into the slanting storm, leaping

and kicking like a runaway colt

and leaving you with camera slung

around your neck and the shame

of remaining discreetly clothed.

Filed under: Issue 3, William Doreski,

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