Nothing Fresh, Nothing Tender

In the library, men even older than me wrap themselves in newspapers and snarl. They’re unhappy that the tide is out. They’re dismayed that the trees are shedding leaves that haven’t yet changed color. They’re upset that pizza delivery was canceled for lack of interest. They read about storms in the Carolinas and apply the damage to themselves like Ace bandages. They read about gas explosions near Boston and assume that the pagan view of the universe was correct. I unfold a Globe and settle into a comfy chair. A pockmarked moon dangles from the ceiling. It emits alpha rays that penetrate even the dullest organs. Nothing fresh in the news, nothing tender enough to harvest for the children who grew up so long ago they’ve forgotten the family name. An old tractor starts with a blast of windy resentment. Someone is going to mow the lawn. Someone too young to read newspapers, let alone enshroud himself in the news. I doze into a dream of ramshackle buildings haunted by homeless figures, each displaying one or more features I recognize but can’t quite place. The tractor buzzes past the reading room and I startle awake. The others have left in a huff. Newspapers rumpled by reading litter a big round table. The moon overhead smiles upon me, its radiance intimate as a kiss. 

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many 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. He has a blog at