The Skull of Mozart

William Doreski


The heat creeps into the house, waving its forepaws. Mozart on the radio. Adagio. And then a pause. Forepause. I lift my face, a facelift, and stare at the radio. It’s Mozart’s skull, playing softly. I secretly unearthed it on a windblown night while hounds bayed in the background. In the foreground, a clutch of frightened mice. But I wouldn’t harm a mouse family, and neither would Mozart, although his skull clacked its teeth at me as I slipped it into a green canvas tote. That happened last week, at great expense. I had to recover that artifact before the heat wave erupted. The skull, now that it’s here in America, has lost some of its sass. The day’s too hot for tooth-clacking, even in the most hauntable corners of the room. I hope that when shorn of flesh my own skull looks as ceramic as Mozart’s, as kiln-fired and arty. The music drones along, though, movement after movement, like a centipede dragging a couple of wounded legs.



William Doreski’s work has appeared in various online and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (Splash of Red, 2018).