Among shadows of equal depth those which are nearest to the eye will look least deep. When we
walk the beach to Nahant our shadows overlap and sigh. Which is deeper? You lose yourself in
the horrors of Kierkegaard, while I drift from William James to Stephen King, expecting our
footprints to split the sand and reveal the wrecks of spaceships fallen centuries ago. The winter
horizon hones itself in the cusp of the eye. Vapor rises from the Boston skyline. A jet screaming
from Logan shivers away towards Chicago. Our shadows are surely of equal depth, but mine,
being longer, thins out at the edges; while yours, rich with night-thoughts, firms almost fossil
hard as the slop of surf threatens. We veer slightly inland. The afternoon quickens in shades of
puce and beige. Snowstorm tomorrow, a foot or more of serious matter. Leonardo never
mentions the shift in texture as shadows crawl from wet sand to dirty old snowdrifts left by the
previous storm. But here we are, slopping onto a surface too filthy to flatter us. Somehow your
shadow retains its depth and silky texture, while mine tatters and weakens and repels itself,
identifying with the surface on which it falls.

 

WILLIAM DORESKI lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has published three critical studies. His poetry 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 (Splash of Red, 2018).