Eventually climate change will claim our shack by the lagoon and render us homeless as kittens.
Maybe by then, age will have erased the details that keep us perking. Like the most famous
yachtsmen of Bar Harbor and North Haven, we’ll sink beneath our shadows without leaving the
slightest ripple. Will we then prose our way to heaven? Or will our atoms renew their
acquaintance with rhythms too large for subject / verb agreement? Our shack reeks of fish that
lost their scales a hundred years ago. Your poet friend found those scales the “principal beauty”
of certain unfortunate specimens. Possibly they’re your principal beauty, too. Although we’ve
lived in this shack all our lives, I’ve never seen your actual skin. In your frankest incarnation,
you may be as scaly as a herring. So even though I see you naked every day, I realize that’s an
illusion, like climate change. An authentic illusion, like everything else in this potbellied world.
Maybe if like the circuit riders of the nineteenth century we were to gallop horseback through
downpour, windstorm, or blizzard we would glimpse something of the principal beauty that
underlies even the meanest little landscape. I would like to think that those yachtsmen who raced
to Bermuda and back, defying hurricanes, read the runes of the sea in colors that enlightened
them. Maybe when they sank in whirlpools deep as the blue of your gaze they regretted only
dying fully clothed, their principal beauties concealed forever.
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).