A View of the Pacific

by

William Doreski

A footbridge spanning a gorge

a thousand feet deep, a strip

of chromium river wrinkling

as it shrugs itself out to sea.

The Pacific lolls stark naked

with its favorite birds clinging.

Inland, the river source tinkles

down a far-off mountain slope.

Let’s join the other tourists

and browse across the bridge with

only casual glances down.

Yes, I know you need photos

to prove that this earth-slot exists,

but better to buy a postcard

than risk the vertigo for which

old-timers like us are famous.

Rather than lean over the rail

and look down I stare straight west

to the aqua sea horizon

misting the curve of the planet.

We mustn’t risk falling that far

into the open maw of the world.

The ocean doesn’t know we’re here,

sparking across this little bridge

with its massive overview.

The great bulk of water ignores us

and goes about its sloppy business,

trespassing on our properties

without the slightest taint of motive.

I’d better look inland where

folded hills look as cozy

as fat people after a meal.

You can look anywhere you want,

but please keep away from the rails

and don’t let the drop to the bottom

maim everything we stand for.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

William Doreski
William Doreski
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