William Doreski

Eagle, Eagle, Eagle

You jerk the car to the shoulder
because an eagle perches
above the half-frozen river.

It poses, then unfolds itself
like a paper airplane, glides
without stressing its wingspan,

then angles and torpedoes down
into the black sluggish current
and rises dripping with a fish.

I’d applaud, but from this distance
the nabbed bluegill’s agony
shudders through me like an insult.

This February’s lack of snow
embarrasses the landscape,
the few unthawed drifts filthy

with road debris. Let’s move on
before someone reckless crashes
into our parked car. Leave the eagle

to beak his fish in peace.
No, you have to watch him devour
every scrap, have to sate yourself

on eagle, eagle, eagle. Here
on the highway no illusion
pertains, no depth of spirit,

no eighteenth-century sublime.
Only the road filth, steel guard rail,
pavement, fringe of brittle weed,

and back in that scraggy tree
an eagle preening and sated.
I lean against the paltry view.

Difficult to think without casting
gnarled shadows of which I’m ashamed.
When at last you start the car

I leap in as you lurch forward
to re-enter the human rush.
The eagle rolls the entire world

in its glitter of an eye
while the river writhes below,
bleak, insensate, and bottomless.


william-doreskiWilliam Doreski recently retired after years of teaching at Keene State College in New Hampshire (USA). His 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.