Public and Private Moments

A poem by William Doreski

Am I allowed to taste the rain?
On Commonwealth the English elms
heave up last year’s birds’ nests
and drop twigs on snooping dogs.
My first architectural walk
in years leads past the statue
of Sam Morison, who greets me
with his placid sailor’s hello,
enunciated in clear blue tones
that evoke the sea horizon
complete with a distant squall.

As I trundle past he waves one
heavy bronze arm and gestures
at the Public Garden where squirrels
frisk among tourists for snacks.
Despite the light rain a mob
surrounds the equestrian
George Washington riding
toward the edge of eternity
where his dental work will flourish
in the finest shades of ivory.

Am I allowed to taste the rain
that you planned on keeping
for yourself? I got out early,
drove seventy miles before dawn,
leaving you to tend the garden
by yourself. Mr. Morison
knew I was coming. Tea with him
years ago on Brimmer Street lingers
with a smell of old brown leather.

Traffic snores down Arlington.
I walk to the corner and cross,
and passing through the iron gate
and circling Washington’s pedestal
and rambling along the duck pond
I sneak a couple of tastes of rain
and let it nourish and inspire me
with evolutionary notions
of which only you would approve.

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