In our first department meeting
in the cusp of the new school year,
when I pass around the chainsaw
to see who handles it well,
you grin like a raptor and touch
the grisly chain and lick the oil
from your fingertips. Ladylike
in delicacy, murderous
in substance, your expression fouls
the room. The others leave,
cursing me for introducing
this weapon to the agenda.
You hum a little mourning hymn
as we stare through the window
at weeds growing like a wig.
You suggested bringing the chainsaw
to work to shock our white-collar
colleagues, but I didn’t expect
you to grasp it like a logger
and cuddle it to your bosom.
Dark wind blows from the west.
Extreme weather plots to crush
little wooden houses mortgaged
to death. In this brick, steel-framed
building we’re safe except
for the smirk you can’t control.
Why don’t I just leave the room
and let you commune with your weapon?
Good thing the gas tank’s empty,
else you’d fire up that tool and wield
its frenzy to hack the furniture
to shards. I’d rush outdoors,
of course, and huddle in the weeds,
where the onslaught of lightning
might shiver me with voltage
but at least would leave me whole.
William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).