North to Rutland

Cowboy singers mourn the Fifties,
Hank Williams and two-tone Chevys,
Stevenson versus Ike. Too bad,
but a dank chilly wind surges

from a limestone cave on Dorset Peak
where a red-haired muse abandoned me.
I can’t remember that woman’s name,
but the green down vest she wore

as she steered her Saab up the hill
past the abandoned marble quarry
lingers in the corner of my eye.
The villages clench and relax, clench

and relax. A gravel truck swerves
down a narrow road. A child
doesn’t get out of the way. A dog
barks because the Angel of Death

wears such a musty billow of cloud.
She would claim it’s always like this,
the cave sighing from the center
of the earth, the railroad harp-strung

and reeking of oil. I worked
awhile tending bar for the ski crowd
and made a modest fortune in tips.
Then she turned away and I left

for the city; but the cold breath
of the mountains had filled me,
Hank Williams and Patsy Cline
still haunting the airwaves, the wax

on my old Chevy still gleaming,
and Eisenhower still golfing
as a train rattles north to Rutland
and the bedrock crumbles like cake.

William Doreski’s work has appeared in various electronic and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).