By the Light of Wormwood
By the light of wormwood, you look
slinky as a vine. Near the moon,
your senses bristling, you famish
those of us you’ve left behind.
Maybe you think I’ve drugged
the vacuum between us, filtering
nonsense from the ether. Maybe
you think the stars in the lake
burn independently of those
you memorized in grammar school
when your teeth fit so perfectly.
The knives of shadows nattering
in your wake should convince you
that glowing wormwood reveals
dimensions you don’t discover
in the paintings of Leonardo
or in blasts of Gillespie’s horn.
You can’t count on performance
or affixed imagery to solve
the batter of moth wings against
the killing jar of absolute dark.
You can only look slinky and lift
your tingling ego closer to points
on the cosmos anyone can map.
I don’t know what you expect to dredge
from the moon’s plain expression,
but it flatters you to mingle
moonlight and wormwood on planes
of your face no one has seen
but me: light and shade merging
in gray tones great photographers
loved before landscapes and nudes
became one entity large enough
to fit into the average pocket,
still writhing, feigning ecstasy.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall. He has a blog at williamdoreski.blogspot.com, and is on Twitter at @wdoreski.