William Doreski

Akin to the Pterodactyl

In the snowy brown wood, we’re following our own tracks home. A few year ago, the loggers felled half the trees. Scrub has filled in the vacancies. Deer have pocked the snow with hoofprints, squirrels have vaulted across the open areas, nervous about owls. A couple of blood spatters suggests that certain swoops have succeeded. That could happen to us. Not an owl, but something larger, something akin to the pterodactyl we saw dangling in the dinosaur hall of the Museum of Natural History, a drone-like swooping thing, all tooth and claw. Owls lack teeth, but their talons mean business. Their beaks are brisk as chisels. Their appetites include every meat object in the forest, even those too large to kill. The thing that could stoop to devour us lurks high in the clouds. It probably won’t bother with us today. But when we get home, we should look it up in a field guide so that when it digs its claws into us, we can cry out its Latin name.

About the Author

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.