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Otsu by William Doreski

Lake Biwa, the largest in Japan,

lurks unnoticed in the background.

I watch men drop buckets down a well

to water oxen harnessed to bales

bundled onto pairs of wheels as tall

as the draymen waving little sticks.

Then I enter the shop that sells Otsu-e,

folk pictures sketched locally.

They depict draymen leading oxen

to the well, and some include me

in the background, my western clothes

a humorous distraction from

the workday world too busy

to enjoy a dip in the lake.

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent book is A Black River, A Dark Fall.

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