a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Surf-casting in yellow gloom,
I expect to catch nothing
either with that red plastic lure
or the writhing orange sandworms
I dug at dawn while herring gulls
tottered behind me for scraps.
I want to expiate that dream
of gilding the stars embossed
in Jewish graves in Poland.
My motive: to honor the dead
of the years before the Holocaust.
Later, no one enjoyed a grave
other than the ash-choking sky.
So the stars of David required
gilt to define them against
a background that like wet sand
redeploys shape and distance
by defying perspective and depth.
My motive may have been pure,
but highlighting those stars invoked
the badge the Nazis applied
to German Jews to prevent them
from escaping without great bribes.
Why did my dream bring me tears
I still can’t wipe from my eyes?
A bite. I jerk the rod and drag
to shore a great panting bluefish.
Unhooked, it flops and suffers
unbreathable air, so I launch it
back into the roiling suds.
Nothing escapes the dream. I free
the sandworms and trudge back
over the sneering dunes. The grass
that knits the landscape together
shushes as the hot wind combs
its thousand stubborn cowlicks.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His latest collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His fiction, essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, Worcester Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge.