Absolute Divisions, by William Doreski
A woodpecker razzing a tree
rousts me from a dream set
in a ruined clubhouse perched
at the extremity of Brooklyn.
Broken glass and condoms littered
a cheap brown linoleum floor.
The reek of dead sex tainted
the air. I’d taken bus after bus
through restless neighborhoods
where gangsters sat on the stoops
and counted their cash in public.
The sea perked a few yards away,
eager to sweep away the rubble
as soon as I finished exploring
for clues to the fate of the city.
Long ago I met a stark woman
in the grass near this structure.
We shared our genetic codes
in terms no one could mistake.
That was a different dream, shaped
to flatter privacies. This new one
flattered no one. It clouded
my geography by placing me
exactly where map lines intersect
to demark absolute divisions.
No one was there to dominate
the view of the Verrazano bridge,
only me with my timid footfall.
It morphs into the clatter
of the woodpecker’s exclamations.
I unfold myself upright and note
the cats watching at the window.
I thank myself for the good health
that enables me to plant myself
in both this and the dream world
without regretting either.
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). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.