Look at how lowbrow the sky has become. The opera has closed, leaving tenors gasping. The museums have sold off their holdings, and the ballpark has folded for all seasons. No more Antiques Roadshow on TV, no more Saturday afternoon concerts. The world has atomized into a fine mist fatal to breathe. You aren’t breathing, are you? You’re reading a book, but: books have gone blank so you’re just turning the pages the way a farmer turns a field in drought, his plow hacking up arrogant stones. We agree that we miss the museums most of all. When the paint fell off all the van Goghs l felt bereft. When a famous marble sculpture fizzed like bicarbonate you sighed like the vacuum between stars. When a West African mask began keening, l keened with it. When a mummy did sit-ups and groaned, you groaned in chorus. The filthy gray sky gusts over us. Noxious weeds infest the outfield, where elegant catches once ruled. Don’t breathe; one soprano hasn’t given up. Her last aria requires all available oxygen.
William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught at Emerson College, Goddard College, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent books are Water Music and Train to Providence. williamdoreski.blogspot.com