Now that I live at the junkyard, I sleep in a different wreck every night. Sometimes the ghosts of head-on fatalities embrace me in sleep, drooling cosmic ether and whispering of futures that will never come. Sometimes I wake with stinkbugs crawling over my carcass and rain sobbing through spiderwebbed windshields, staining my expression with distance too great to heal.
You ask why I smell like an engine. You ask why the rust in my clothes won’t wash out no matter how the laundromat washers punish them. I like living where songbirds nest in the spent upholstery of Fords, where foxes den in the sprung trunks of Chevys built in my childhood. I like watching the stars revolve through the sunroof of a Mercedes in which a rich, dishonest man died. I like fondling parts left over from the salvage of Toyotas smashed on highways leading to cities I used to visit on shopping trips with my mother and two aunts.
The days and nights dance along in rhythms tuned to the gradual corrosion of complex alloys. You should spend a night with me in the back seat of a Cadillac and feel how the other half lives, whichever half I represent, amid so much exhausted plenty.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in various 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.