In the Sump Hole

In the sump hole creatures evolve
with sighs and tremors of disgust.
Hoof, paw, fin and neb, fur and scale—
every feature microscopic
but perfected by necessity.

I want to encourage these creatures
to grow large enough to examine
with the unaided eye, but fate
in the roar of the sump pump
frequently intervenes. Tonight
the spring Witches’ Sabbath occurs.

Maybe the wrong sort of prayer
addressed at midnight to forces
that usually remain discreet
would accelerate the process
and meld competing theories
of evolution and creation,
generating monsters large enough
to fondle or feed by hand.

Under the microscope some
of these creatures show human faces,
but with expressions too gnarled
and complex to easily read.

If they grew to human scale
they’d probably accuse me
of playing god by having dug
the sump hole to drain the underworld.
Other microbes resemble sheep,
camels, sharks, oxen, whales
but too tiny to survive beyond
the earthy soup of the sump hole.

I dump the contents of the well slide
back into the sump. Both creation
and evolution will have to do
without me, the ashen spring light
too thin to nourish intelligence
and the cries of nesting phoebes
too dogmatic for response.

 

Après la fête mémorable

With a paper towel I swab
wine-drips from the corridor,
Best leave no clues. The party
caused very few casualties,
but some screamed so loudly
crows swooped from the cold sky
to gather slops. Police arrived,
nosed about, left grinning. You swept
from the room with tiara glowing
like a crown of brimstone. No one
followed to comfort your comfortable
but old-fashioned body sheathed
in the most impertinent latex.

By now you’ve wheeled your Alfa
back to your sea-view where ghosts
craft fogs to fit your vision.
Not even the most hideous verbs
can warp you once you install
yourself in a snoozy bubble bath
with all of your privacies tingling.
Meanwhile I sort out the mess
this semi-public event left.
Beer cans bagged for recycling,
wine jugs, paper waste bundled.

Tomorrow I’ll drive to the landfill
and discard the evidence. The last
victims, blooming with headache
will rise early, cursing me,
but will recall you as a cloud
on which a mob of angels danced.
No transubstantiation occurred.
No one rose to godhead, no one
spilled over in millions of hues.
Enjoy your bath. The tide creeps in,
slathering, and the crows mate
aloud with sea gulls, clattering
like an avalanche of scrap.

 

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’S Shifting Colors: Poetics Of The Public & Personal. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals including Up The River and Trailer Park Quarterly.