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The season’s first two hurricanes
have named themselves after us.
As they plow across the Atlantic
toward Florida, we drift over
books we’ve admired all our lives.

You’re still retreating from Moscow
in the bosom of War and Peace
while I drift along the equator
in the doldrums of Moby-Dick.
Your storm will cross to the Gulf

before mine. Your violence spent
on the cringing Everglades, you’ll ease
long before reaching Galveston,
while passing south of the Keys I’ll trip
unimpeded down to Veracruz

and shatter on Mexico’s highlands.
The summer heat drips from the trees
in long greasy strings of drool.
Your air-conditioned townhouse
insulates you from the silence

that centers in my tiny house
as though a giant foot has crushed
the finest of my earthly functions.
Soon the fall semester will fill
our datebooks. Scholarly poise

will sculpt you upright and prim,
but I’ll slump like Igor to class
and growl and frighten young women
and make the stoned young fellows laugh.
Neither of us look like hurricanes,

but the government knows better,
and named its storms as precisely
as decorum allows. Enjoy
your book. Palm Beach and Miami
curse you, but don’t worry. Soon enough

the sun will shine in your wake,
while safely offshore the hurricane
named for me will parallel you,
but diverging as subtly
as I do almost every day.

 


William Doreski teaches writing and literature at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent collection of poetry is Another Ice Age (AA Publications, 2007). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge.

© 2010, William Doreski

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