A Manifesto Arrived by William Doreski

A manifesto arrived last night.
In daylight I wrote it down.
At noon I’ll read it to the village.

Meanwhile a black-and-white cat
dumped by heartless morons
squats on the front stoop demanding

equal time. The neighbor’s children
squall in rhythm with Coltrane
on the radio. Page after page,

the manifesto overlaps me,
determined as a tide. No crime
will appease it, not even church bells.

I slot the pages in my briefcase
and drive downtown to erect
a cairn to serve as an altar

on the lawn beside the Town House.
A policeman drives past and waves,
his face as bland as oatmeal.

The cairn’s too small for sacrifice
but I think the manifesto
requires some virginal something

to die on its behalf. Noon arrives.
I read the pages in order
but can’t understand the phrases

that tumble like puppies at play:
“organic pretense,” “mambo wand,”
“curly trimmings,” “dusty seductions.”

No crowd gathers. No one’s in sight.
A few cars whisk by, glinting
in dry light, but only a dog

with head thrust from a window
looks like he understands me,
his long smile festooned with drool.