Category Archives: William Doreski

FACE TO FACE WITH IT

FACE TO FACE WITH IT
William Doreski

Having walked this far in the woods,
I turn back toward the village and find
much larger footprints trailing me.
What oafish creature followed me
from my car and then disappeared?

Oven birds chat in the brush.
A snake scrawls across my path
and panics down a hole. Too big
to be human, yet shod in boots
with an ordinary hiking tread,

this creature must be watching me
from behind some massive old pine,
but I can’t sense eyesight tunneling
through the thickened grayish air,
and feel no presence, not even mine.

The first silver dimples of rain
patter through the forest canopy.
Because the woods are so dense
I can walk the mile back to the road
without getting wet. But something

heaves and shuffles in the bushes,
something for which I have no words,
so I hustle down the trail but slip
and land flat on my back. Looking up,
unhurt but dazzled, I face

a face big and round as a cake plate.
I lurch to my feet, but the creature
has retreated, leaving a scent
that tastes of violet. The last half-mile
goes slowly. Whatever that face,

it could have devoured me,
but refrained. The trees shiver,
but the oven birds still converse,
their elegant language untarnished
by the arguments of the rain.

©2012 This work is the property of the author.

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