Another morning of snowplows
and prismatic light. I've reclaimed
the space you used to occupy
and replaced you with a mannequin.
Orange town dump trucks gnash along
in third gear, plows lisping tons
of snow the color of paraffin.
We've never before faced so pallid
and unchristian a Christmas,
my mannequin and me. You'd laugh
to see us slurping coffee
in the violet dawn: her eyes
too brazen to reflect the gloom,
her limbs too rigid to scissor
the cup to her mouth, her grimace
keen and fixed as a cormorant's.
Now in your Manhattan apartment
your smile in the mirror suggests
the first primrose of spring,
or so you think. Actually
it suggests a custard pie
a prankster has prepared to throw
to publicly snuff an arrogance
the world is better without.
At least my mannequin needn't
distinguish guilt from innocence:
her acrylic hair glistening,
her plastic hide even tougher
than yours, and her calm as the snow
piles up to the windowsill
rich enough to foster religions
to replace the ones you've abused.
William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His latest collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell's Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, The New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and Natural Bridge.