Biking in snow, I slash a groove an inch and a half wide and a mile deep. When I halt in front of the general store a crowd gathers to look into the crevasse. Tar and molten sulfur ooze in the dark of its depth. Crystals of brilliant azure, pink, and fluorescent green cling to the walls. I wish the cut weren’t so narrow. I’d like to collect those glittering mineral specimens to donate to the college. The crowd oohs and ahhs as rainbows of fume rise and tinkle in the January light. I assume that thaw will heal this wound. When I examine my tires I find them ordinary rubber, so how did they knife the earth so deeply? The crowd applauds. They peer through the gusts of acidic vapor and admire the crystals. Some people can identify quartz, fluorite, apatite, beryl, tourmaline. I park my bike where I can leave it till spring. I don’t want to dig any deeper for fear of what might rise from the damaged bedrock and blame me for letting in the light.

William Doreski

Biking in Snow

 

William Doreski’s most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.