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The Roadkill Expression of Autumn

by William Doreski


Already the roadkill expression of autumn dangles above the supermarket at dusk. Pink flares in its gullet. Bruises ripple for a thousand miles.

A month of summer remains, but the parked cars cringe with chill. We rarely shop late on Saturdays because the shelves need restocking and the clerks are eager to leave.

Besides oozing colors, the dusk forms a washboard effect so rough it rattles our bones as we watch. Let’s get inside and stock up on bananas, oranges, apples,

lettuce, spinach, arugula. We never buy meat here— the roasts too bloody, sausage writhing with shameful memories, hamburger still mooing with pain.

We’re hoping no hurricane soils the forthcoming season. Trees bearing grudges want to crush us. The sky wants to solidify. We should be proud of the distance

we’ve achieved, but somehow it sickens as well as flatters distinctions between spirit and self. We enter the market and wield a cart that groans with abuse.

Later at home we’ll remember everything we didn’t purchase, but by then the dusk will relent and its wound will have closed in honor of our honest dismay.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Dogs Don’t Care (2022). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

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