Like an Existentialist – by William Doreski


After you crumpled me up
and tossed me like a soiled tissue
I crept to the edge of the flat earth
and peered into the vacuum
from which creatures like me evolved.
Stars fizzled and became black holes.

Spaceships collided in bursts
of shrapnel, spilling their crews
into bottomless places beyond
the boundary of the creation.
Now I’ve seen so much dark
I’m no longer afraid of your fits

and moods, your expression rumpled
to intimidate. Living alone,
sleeping in weeds by the roadside,
suits me. Collecting bottles
to redeem for nickels and dimes
provides exercise and cash

for apples, bananas, yogurt
in little cups. I could live like this
long enough for you to tire
of your Manhattan condo
with its view of the Hudson
and the sprawl of America beyond.

Eventually I’ll decay enough
to topple into a drainage ditch
and pull the ballast over myself.
You won’t feel the universe ripple,
but you’ll notice that buzzing
in your ears, faint and distant, has stopped.

When I’ve distilled to my essence
I’ll rise like an existentialist
and stand at the foot of your thirty
floor building and stare up so hard
you’ll think lightning has struck you—
a white flash exposing your bones.




William lives in New Hampshire and his work has appeared in various online and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013)

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