Dynamite Always Brightens a Dumbfounded Winter Day


On the road to the marsh I find

a stick of dynamite, blasting

cap attached. It must have fallen

off a truck. I toss the stick

into a snowbank, retreat

two hundred yards, trigger it

with telepathy. The blast

spews a world-class snow-cloud.


As if a page of music unfurled

in a single huge chord, the noise

astonishes the innocent ear,

leaving a memory of bells.

Nearby trees shrug off their rime

like elegant women undressing.

In a yard a quarter mile away

a pack of retrievers goes crazy.


How did I will such omniscience?

A truck dawdles in spew of fumes

and pulls up beside me, driver

grinning with stainless aplomb.

With honest beer-breath he reports

that the crew heard the blast and cheered.

Dynamite always brightens

a dumbfounded winter day.


The truck maunders on, spewing

a beer can or two. How casual

can explosions be? The ice

on the marsh may have rippled

in sympathy. Maybe an owl

stirred in sleep. Already the dogs

down the road have finished barking

and returned to playing in snow.



Polar Vortex


The cold pouring down from the Arctic has toughened into a hideous animal that we shouldn’t pet, trust, or feed. Let it forage as it will. Let it growl and claw the pine-trunks. Don’t let it into the house unless you think it’s about to produce a litter. Then, of course, common humanity would require us to shelter it. But I don’t believe there will be a litter. More likely it’s pretending to be pitiful, like the scruffy man who sits in the café all morning staring into his laptop computer without buying anything. Bestial cold will behave in a bestial manner. But it doesn’t conceal its carnivorous instincts. It doesn’t lie about the depth of its cold. It doesn’t strut and boast of conquering creatures more fragile than itself. It doesn’t squat on real estate and milk the poor for mortgages. It doesn’t believe in money, much less waste it on follies to insult the ninety-nine percent. Still we agree that this creature belongs outdoors. Yes, it plants a murky kiss on the kitchen window. Yes, it seems to threaten the deer browsing at our bird feeders. Yes, it whispers brittle little nothings in a language we don’t understand. Let’s just keep it outside, at least for now. I’m confident it will thrive on its own.



William Doreski

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in various journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall.

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