Blue Chanterelles by William Doreski

An odor of sanctity hazes
the leafless woods. Brooks freeze
along the fringe, a tonsured effect.

Rather than visiting your new
condo with stainless kitchen,
skylight and white-tile bathroom,
rather than sharing your cheap
Australian wine and noting
your dozens of spiral notebooks
sprawled open to page after page
of notes on nineteenth-century law,

I’m prowling for the last chanterelles
of an elegant season, the frost
blooming in the fallen leaves
and that holy hush of forest
compromised by the stitching
of airplanes back and forth across
an otherwise flawless sky.

The blue chanterelle shouldn’t occur
so late, its fan-shaped caps
gloating on the pine forest floor
like azure aflame in quartz.
Not the tastiest mushroom,
but one I’m sure you’d envy
my finding deep in November
while you pout at your computer
and e-mail your many lovers.

The odor of sanctity flavors
the ancient leathery forest
and tickles my nose, but I know
it doesn’t quite apply to me,
the blue fungi looking up at me
with typically snobbish expression
only you could effectively mock.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and teaches at Keene State College. His most recent books of poetry are City of Palms and June Snow Dance, both 2012. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Worcester Review, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and Natural Bridge