My Shadow Has Thinned
All winter my shadow has thinned,
and no longer supports my weight.
The cars parked at Whole Foods grin
with dramatic chrome expressions
as I slog along with shopping bags
of flotsam fresh from Mexico
and Peru. The horizon lolls
in a wimple of pearly smog.
At lunch my friends insisted
that I eat more, that the flesh matters.
I’ve tried to plump up my shadow,
but it has lost its appetite
for landscape and the arts, has eaten
its last panorama of Paris
boulevards sprawling with traffic,
its last glimpse of Fifth Avenue
storefronts smiling for Christmas.
I noshed a decent salad, but stink
of fat and crunch of carbohydrate
numbed me to the finer things,
like bacon bits and slabs of bread,
blue cheese dressing and croutons.
Over the years the light has slaved
to cast as dense and flattering
a shadow as I could absorb.
Now in the parking lot a gray
anemic blush trails me. Ashamed
of my limp display I pack my bags
into my car and drive away as fast
as I dare. The fruits and vegetables
bought with my last fistful of cash
wouldn’t fatten a greedy child
but will keep me alive for a week.
The horizon bends and swoops
and drops a few seagulls strayed
five miles from Boston Harbor.
Their appetites don’t inspire me,
but in passing they cast shadows
tough as oilcloth, and their cries
mock the elaborate human world
that can’t begin to account for me
and the vacuum I leave in my wake.
- William Doreski 2015
William Doreski's work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).