Spring 2010, Volume 8

Poetry by William Doreski

In a Tribal Setting

A river, bottomless and gray,
gargles through the village. Children
splash naked in the shallows

while fishermen drag nets woven
of grass through the heavy current.
Imagine long nights

before the invention of candles—
pressed against each other
we taste a pleasure

that flees even the faintest
whisper of light. This world
coughs-up T-shirts plastic-wrapped

fresh from Sri Lanka and canned food
your mother cooks on a gas range.
Propane lanterns scorch the dark,

a radio drones a language
that almost sounds familiar.
One morning, we rise to a rumble

of power company trucks. I touch
the seams of your body and find
you’ve sealed and toughened yourself

against the primal urge. Your family
suspects me of sin, but they’re wrong.
One well-thrown rock

and I’m out of here,
hitching a ride on a yellow truck
headed south. You’ll marry the bright

young lawyer who arrives to sort
land claims. You’ll love him
for his powerful sharkskin suit,

forgetting how we loved—
the river flowing through us
with a gray carnivorous depth.


BIO: William Doreski's work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently Waiting for the Angel (Pygmy Forest Press, 2009).