Traveling fast, a skateboarder slices the landscape, unzipping it to show the underbelly, where we feed after dark. In the pale exposed space, the cries of malnourished infants rise in smoky gusts. Desperate mothers gnaw stones exposed by the gash in the hills. The rest of us drink sickly brews and pretend we enjoy them. All those spigots and taps, but nothing of real food value to offer a growing child.
The skateboarder, engrossed in the finer points of ego, disregards the wound he has opened. If I asked him how it felt to astonish us with our own desperation he would whistle like a teakettle, and possibly implode.
I enjoy these nuances, but would prefer to keep them secret. Landscapes aren’t jigsaw puzzles, not really, and we owe it to the eighteenth century to preserve a notion of the sublime equivalent to the detonation of millions of tons of TNT.
But whoever believeth in the underbelly is doomed to visit it daily, preferably at dusk when we gather to play bridge and complain about politics and youth, two subjects that never leave clues.
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).