An Act of Justice

by William Doreski

You drove the car up the brush pile
and left it with headlights on
and engine off. You rolled the metal
roof from the house and sold it
to dishonest contractors cheating
our neighbor who raises Pekinese.
You rerouted water from the well
to flood the street and ice over
and trigger a dozen collisions.
You invested your retirement fund
in ship-breakers on the furthest shore
of the Indian Ocean. You sold
your dog to a Chinese restaurant,
which enslaved him as a bus boy.
Finally you tipped the bed and spilled me
into a heap of dirty laundry
and tried to stuff me in the washer
where I’d go round and round forever.
I escaped and dashed outdoors and called
on the heavens for help. The weak
amber headlights pinned me against
a starless and ignoble sky.
The neighbor who raises Pekinese
phoned the police, who responded
with sighs of boredom. Their car
towed yours off the brush pile.
They arrested the contractors
and called Public Works to sand
the slippery road. They rescued
your dog from the restaurant where
he’d made a hundred dollars in tips.
They couldn’t recover your funds
from the ship breakers, but maybe
that was a sound investment. Lastly,
they arrested me for knowing you,
an act of justice so abject
the stars broke through cloud cover
and wept a trillion ions of joy.

William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent books of poetry are City of Palms and June Snow Dance, both 2012. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Worcester Review, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and Natural Bridge.