William Doreski

Infants Sacrificed to Sun-Gods

You look as if your secrets
are having second thoughts. Pale
as a case of flu, the autumn sky
unlimbers its lack of focus
and attaches itself to your breast.
Meanwhile the football scores add up
to terrible sums I can’t cover
with my failing retirement account.

We should combine our intellects
and pay off the small politicians
that den all winter in the woods.
We should refuse to gratify
the gestures adolescence imposed
when the last halos descended.
Why shouldn’t the pink horizon
last all day, basting us in plunder?

Yesterday browsing the local
cafeteria, you found the bones
of infants sacrificed to sun-gods
whose rule has never ruled you.
Your complaints to the management
went unheeded, and police
couldn’t distinguish those bones
from those of dogs or badgers.

Now everything looks and tastes
different: sour and too thick
to swallow. I can’t help you
because those were just chicken bones,
not the bones of little humans
expended to compliment power
greater than the pink and pearl of sky
and almost as well-imagined.


William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work 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.