Footfall on Footfall by William Doreski

In the glare of Boylston Street
the oscillations of our orbit
seem exaggerated, warping

skyscrapers to feint at each other

like Olympians with epees.

We walk as if the concrete

sidewalk couldn’t possibly crack

and drop us into the subway.

We watch the skyscrapers duel

with each other and the sky,

and refrain from pointless irony.

Summers in Boston always hurt

with poignancies we rarely share.

The gloss of shop windows scorches

across our bodies as we pass,

but that’s not the pain I respect

for textual and historic depth.

Maybe you recall the woman

crying and smashing a bag

of groceries on the gray fa├žade

of the building on St. Germain

where we lay on the roof all night

in the deepest part of summer.

Boylston offers single point

perspective we gladly employ

to orient ourselves to the east.

Walking with our naked selves

held safely in trust, we impress

footfall that overlaps footfall

we laid down many years ago.

The shuddering of the planet,

however slight, acknowledges

our presence, our small weight

warping geometries we studied

in school without learning how

subtly they might apply to us.


William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught at Emerson College, Goddard College, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent book is Stirring the Soup.  You can find out more about his work at the following link:


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