The Old Neighborhood

by William Doreski

Peering through the lazy blinds
of my family home now sold
to pay for Motherís nursing care
I glimpse black lacquered tables,
posters from Russia and Poland
spilling aggressive primal hues,
and a black leather couch as long
as the living room. On the floor,
a corpse. No, it moves a hand,
it waves, itís drowning in itself.
Did I frighten it by bracing
my old-fashioned face to the glass?
Did I shock and topple it
from the couch where maybe it dozed
with a clear and living conscience?
I rush around through the back yard
where I sledded away dull winters
and bored myself with gardening
through the dustiest weeks of summer.
A scream ghosts up the chimney
and corkscrews into the icy blue.
Only a dog could have heard it.
I totter to the corner and nod
at the Episcopal church. The cross
atop the steeple winks to mock
my nonbelief. I turn and see
the corpse-person on the verandah
still waving at me. The house
crouches like a bullfrog. I duck
inside the church to hide myself
among the hymnals. I could play
the tremendous organ and snuff
in its mercies; but all that brass
rebukes me, so I crawl in a pew
and lie so flat the divine breath
passes over me in whispers
pale against the vaulted nave.

previous home next