William Doreski

North Wall

TOLEDO TO CLEVELAND

Along the road from Toledo
to Cleveland, I find rolls of stamps
littered every mile or so.

Disgusted with postal service,
some disgruntlement tossed hundreds
of dollars’ worth away. The reek

of Lake Erie flatters my senses.
Planted shade trees line the highway,
leafless in the sly December light.

The interstate runs parallel
to this old route, and the railroad
to Chicago clogs with coal trains

plodding from Wyoming to New York.
With coat pockets full of stamps
I could mail myself anywhere.

Hardly a car or big truck passes.
Plywood ranch houses watch me
with suspicion. No one walks

anywhere in Ohio; no one
walks from Toledo to Cleveland
no matter how desperate to stretch

the furthest parts of the body.
I’d rather follow the railroad
like a Depression-era hobo,

but frequent heavy trains would shake
the bones right out of my skin.
Stamps of all denominations,

coils and sheets and booklets,
from a penny to a dollar. Rich
again, I whistle Elvis tunes

and breathe the lake-smell so deeply
its oily dark becomes part of me,
sounding myself to the bottom.

 

Author Biography

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.

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