You’re Running for the Senate

You’re running for the Senate
so I have to saw down pine trees
for telegraph poles to carry
the news to the deepest slums
in the state. Wi-Fi and cell phones
won’t do because you’re running
on the Village Blacksmith platform.

If you’re elected, the whang!
of hammer on hot iron will rouse
every citizen daily at dawn—
a work-rhythm potent enough
to incite the whole economy.
I chainsaw a few large pines
and drag them to the millpond
in which they sink without a ripple.
Too rotten to float, I conclude.

Meanwhile you’re down with migraine.
Stars blacken your dim bedroom.
A wet compress drapes your eyes
against the insults of the cosmos.
I try to report the sinking
of the telegraph poles as well
as your sinking in opinion polls
but you’re unable to hear me—
the pain too parti-colored
and political theory too pale
to register in your swollen brain.

No point in cutting more trees.
The forges have gone cold forever
and the Senate doesn’t want you—
gray old politicians so warped
by greed they can’t accept from you
an agony they could have embraced
without cutting down a single tree
to fulfill an imagined need.

***

William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent books of poetry are City of Palms and June Snow Dance, both 2012. 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.

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