William Doreski



From my motherís porch I watch the ice storm spill its load, traffic

shattering on the main road, trees curtsied by the build-up. A nun

from the convent across the way backs her Buick into the street,

but canít control it. The car describes a large vague circle

and halts with nose on my motherís lawn.


The nun smiles that precious nun smile and abandons the car, by waddling

toward the back door of the convent. Almost there, she slips backward,

smashing her head on the icy pavement. She lies so flat I should call

an ambulance; but sheís up again, grabs the rail, pulls herself indoors.

If she fractured her skull the sisters will pray it whole: no need to worry.


The Buick, pointed right at me, sheathes in ice. The nun left the keys,

so I back it across the street and into the driveway, then creep

back to the verandah to drink cup after cup of coffee

and listen to trees scrape and chafe.


The thermometerís stuck at freezing, but a degree or two either way

would lighten the load to snow or rain. I wish the nuns were pagan enough

to pray to moderate the weather. But I remember them slapping

knuckles, slamming a smart-mouth kidís face on his desk, again and again,

breaking his nose, chipping his teeth, so I wonít bother asking them

to reconsider their religion to account for current conditions.


Besides, Iím enjoying this mess, the coffee hot in my gullet,

and in the living room behind me Motherís watching The Price is Right,

sorting the world into objects even the simplest fool might buy.

Copyright © 2003 William Doreski.  All Rights Reserved.

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