Why There’s Something Rather than Nothing

Why did skyscrapers erupt
along this street and not that one?
Who planted a tree that grew
into such a grim expression?
Why are you an entity
rather than a stain on the sidewalk?

Unlike Descartes I don’t question
the authority of my questions,
at least not in front of you
with your peasant skirt billowing,
your plastic trinkets rattling.

I don’t ask why you sculpt yourself
after a Hollywood notion
of Gypsy women, but sometimes
I wonder who mapped the subway
and laid the track precisely
to your door, open to everyone.

With creamy, buttery logic
you explain that skyscrapers also
are natural extrusions, crystals
formed underground and thrust
sexually into full attention.

You explain that trees are people
in a soft-spoken primal state.
Although I haven’t asked,
you explain that your junk jewelry
shames would-be muggers and thieves
by mocking the notion of value.

Thank you for explaining the world,
explaining why you’re something,
someone, rather than nothing,
no one. A brisk March wind
swirls around the skyscrapers
and gives that tree a good shaking.

Your skirt typhoons about you
as you conclude our conversation
by taking my hand so solemnly
Descartes rolls over in his textbook
and tries so hard not to laugh.

William Doreski

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."