Issue 0 cover

Trying to Make Coffee

by William Doreski

Issue 0 :: Spring 2007 (poetry)

Trying to make coffee, I brew
a batch of chlorine gas, a bitter
stinging that escapes my kitchen
and drifts through town, burning and scarring
everyone who breathes it. A few
susceptibles die writhing, weeping
for their mothers. A police car
crashes into a mailbox.
The fire department’s ladder truck
rolls into the river and hisses
like a wounded hippopotamus.
Victims turn green and thrust their heads
into snowbanks to snuff the heat.
They find relief by breathing
the cold moisture, and hardly care
if they drown.


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"Trying to Make Coffee" is roughly 300 words.

William Doreski, Professor of English, Keene State College (New Hampshire), teaches creative writing, literary theory, and modern poetry. Born in Connecticut, he lived in Boston, Cambridge, and Arlington (MA) for many years, attended various colleges, and after a certain amount of angst received a PhD from Boston University. After teaching at Goddard, Harvard, and Emerson colleges, he came to Keene State in 1982. He has published several collections of poetry, most recently "Sacra Via" (Tatlock Publications, 2005) and "Another Ice Age" (Cedar Hill, 2006), and three critical studies, "The Years of Our Friendship: Robert Lowell and Allen Tate" (University Press of Mississippi, 1990), "The Modern Voice in American Poetry" (University Press of Florida, 1995), and "Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors" (Ohio University Press, 1999), and a textbook entitled "How to Read and Interpret Poetry" (Prentice-Hall). His critical essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many academic and literary journals, including The Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, The New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, The Antioch Review, and Natural Bridge.