Polar Vortex

artist: Moody Svnday

by William Doreski

The cold pouring down from the Arctic has toughened into an entity. Some kind of hideous animal, not to be petted, trusted, or even fed. Let it forage as it will. Let it growl and claw the pine-trunks. Don’t let it into the house unless you think it’s about to produce a litter. Then, of course, common humanity would require us to shelter it. But I don’t believe there will be a litter. More likely it’s pretending to be homeless, like the scruffy man who sits in the café all morning without buying anything. Bestial cold will behave in a bestial manner, but that’s sometimes better than the way people behave. Consider the tangle of lies that contemporary politicians weave. The strutting of young men who think of women as conquests. The oily greed of local realtors. The woman who wasted two hundred thousand dollars on a folly placed right in the center of town where the homeless man may inspect it. We agree that this creature belongs outdoors. Yes, it plants a murky kiss on the kitchen window. Yes, it seems to absorb and digest the deer browsing at our bird feeders. Yes, it whispers brittle little nothings in a language we don’t understand. But let’s keep it outside, at least for now. I’m confident it will thrive on its own.

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Doreski work has appeared in various online and print journals, and he’s in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (2019).