By William Doreski
Black ice curses asphalt roads
this morning, the moon a white hole
funneling away our dream lives.
Few sharp edges in nature yet
we bleed from tiny scratches
inflicted by our wandering minds.
The challenge of snow-freighted trees
remains critical. One orange spark
of sun won’t be bright enough
to disburden the nervous landscape.
December’s always the wrong month,
with superstitions running wild
to obviate a year’s worth
of whatever we sought to resolve.
Driving to town on black ice
reminds me that learning to dance
pained me like foolish politics.
I prefer my music sitting down,
like you with your love of ballads
going sepia as you listen
to recordings eighty years old.
Driving slowly, all four wheels
on tiptoe, we arrive and park
by the river, where ice floes
crush over the low dam and birds,
mostly juncos and blue jays,
punctuate the colorless sky.
Where have all the purples gone?
Don’t you remember how bruised
last winter looked when observed
by the bravest local artists?
We haven’t seen them puttering
at their easels for many months.
We haven’t smelled their oil paint
or licked our lips over thick
slathers of acrylic: not since
the pandemic arrived, flaunting
its dread symptoms and snuffing
the gist of our public lives.
We still drink coffee outdoors
seated on a cold stone wall
where our friends can see us and wave
from a safe distance. Not even
black ice can keep us at home
all day. But if we skid and crash
we might, in the fatal instant,
recover those purple visions
upon which winter depends.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.