Saturday, January 31, 2009

Time-Lapse Conversation by William Doreski

So I heard on the news your son
climbed a tree to save a kitten.
No, I heard on the news a kitten

climbed a tree to save your son.
Wind from the north. Rain as drab
as oatmeal. Firefighters swore

they’d never seen so heroic
a scene. No, it wasn’t a tree
but a skyscraper. Not a kitten

but a candidate for President.
Not your son but a famous,
famously bearded anarchist.

Not a rescue but a botched
assassination. We agree
that all’s well that ends. Crouched

in your office drinking coffee
we agree that your son would save
a kitten if the situation

warranted grave intervention.
We agree that the anarchist
acts according to his nature.

We agree that cold rain has changed
to snow, to buttery flakes smooth
against the dirty windowpane.

The coffee goes down as cleanly
as history goes down in books.
The four o’clock news reports

that rumors of an attempted
assassination are false. Your son
appears in the doorway cuddling

an orange tabby kitten. We rise
and thank him for interrupting
this time-lapse conversation,

the snowfall brisk as a landslide
and your son’s beard thick enough
to shelter a thousand motives.