“The Gospel of the Mist” by William Doreski

In my dream I devise a mist
that if breathed for one whole day
cures even the rudest cancer.
Celebrities flock to inhale it.
Poor folks stand in line for hours.
Local politicians endorse it.
The most famous cancers shrivel
into pellets the body excretes.
The more subtle tumors regress
with tiny cries of dismay
and die of their disappointment.

The mist doesn’t smell or taste
medicinal. It’s a tang of pine
mingled with an effervescence
of orange sherbet and bourbon.
Even people without cancer
like bathing in the spa I’ve built
to house my miracle cure.
It’s only a shack I constructed
of lumber from the local landfill,
but it keeps rain from diluting
the mist and chilling the patients.

Although this cure makes me famous,
I worry that the side effects
of inhaling such a pleasant taste
will leave people dissatisfied
with their fragile little lives
and encourage public suicide
with colorful methods and modes.
Still, I collect my modest fees
and hope that the miracle lasts,
the taste of the mist so gentle
it lingers like a French kiss
impressed by a wanton child.



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, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent book is Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston.

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