In Wilton, Main Street storefronts
blister in the heat. Although
it’s a Monday afternoon, all
the shops are closed. As we pass
a display of antique oil lamps,
pewter jugs, bronze statuettes,
and Wedgewood pottery, the plate
glass pops and snows in the street.
We aren’t injured, but the shock
numbs us like sudden dentistry.
What if police assume we broke
the window to swipe the painting
of a full-rigged ship dancing
atop a swarm of curlicue waves?
What if the shop owner arrives
with a loaded antique pistol?
We shuffle down the block and duck
into a doorway and wait. The sun
casts only the flimsiest shadows.
The town feels empty. Not a soul
on the street, only a few cars,
parked at the prescribed angle.
No police, no shopkeeper, no one.
Retreating a little further,
we withdraw into the park where
a clever boulder fountain drools.
The angle of the light adjusts
to flatter the old black railroad bridge
installed above the Souhegan River
flexing along behind Main Street.
We’ve trespassed across that bridge
and felt the pull of current below.
Today we lean against a steel fence
and admire the scene, but wonder
how we’re going to sneak past
that shattered storefront and escape
this apparently vacated town.
The heat slips over us like shawls.
We pocket our doubts and return
to the fake crime scene and ignore
the antiques subject to theft,
slosh through the broken glass,
and once safely seated in our car
thank the cosmos for tempting us
with that rictus of unwanted goods.
BIO: William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His work has appeared in many journals and several books.