The dark inside my shell congeals
like a dream. The tidal ebb
and flow rarely disturb me.
A few sand-grains slip between
my valves and irritate but
hardly ruffle my indifference
to the vistas you represent
with your slinky linen skirts
and thousand-dollar perfume
bestowed by professional lovers.
I’ve adopted the title and stance
of quahog because it critiques
cohort, a buzzword homonym
belovéd of group-think experts
whom you also detest despite
prospering in their afterglow.
If after showering off the scent
you sheath yourself in blue jeans
and revive that corduroy shirt
I once admired you could stroll
along the beach at dusk and deploy
your senses. The salt air would lather
and preserve your expression
and the example of the surf
would engender certain rhythms
of which you know you’re capable.
Perhaps as I hear you shuffle past
I’ll rise to catch the final tint
of afterglow on my shell. Maybe
you’ll note my corrugations
and accept for a moment
that symmetry as routine as this
trumps entire modes of fashion
to which you’ve devoted organs
few people even possess.
William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Worcester Review, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and Natural Bridge.
Return to May 2012 Edition