The gelatinous mob congeals,
crowding me into a corner.
I can’t sample the hors d’œuvres
from here, the massive chatting-up
thunderous. I should go home,
but here you are, slipping through
the crush to slather yourself
against me, renewing my faith.
We gaze from shared space into
the cocktail cosmos and feel
collective drinks accumulate.
While no individual is drunk,
the communal ego totters
in rattles of cubes and slopping
of tonic on silkscreened cotton.
Although we’re barely touching,
aware that as well as watching
we’re being watched, mentally
we entwine like a caduceus.
The warmth blushes us both
so that anyone might fathom
our fondest moment regardless
of whether it ever happens.
The air thickens. Conversation
peaks at cirrus level: thin, wispy
but reaching terrible altitude.
Drinks slop the Chinese carpet.
One man loses his toupee,
another his wife. Meanwhile
we try to untwine ourselves,
but find we’ve warped together,
the cricks in our necks too painful
to straighten without estrangement,
although our bodies distance
each other without a pang.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His most recent collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). 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, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge.