Why We Aren't Together Anymore by William Doreski

Remember when you applied

for that nursing job in Halifax?

They handed you a thirty page

application, and stuck me

with two hundred pages to fill out

to determine if I qualified

for Canadian citizenship

or belonged in the old stone prison

near the mouth of the famous harbor.

Afraid to even print my name,

I ducked outside where smokers

clustered in soggy little cliques.

The chat of seagulls alerted me

to the long arc of air time

to Iceland, while nearby

a graveyard ripe with remains

of Titanic victims simmered

in degraded autumn sunlight.

They offered you the job

but warned that I’d be imprisoned

for failing to complete the form.

No problem: they’d provide you

with a fresh new spouse endowed

with a hefty government grant.

You accepted the offer and rushed

to entrap me with the news.

So I caught the bus to Boston,

my tombstone of a suitcase

banging against my knees.

As the bus hissed and grumbled

through the low-slung suburbs

I gradually shed myself

and everything you’d made of me,

and faced the long night of travel

with my senses reignited

by the kind of absence I love.

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall.