The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Bear Hill Deli

William Doreski

The canard that technology’s
a male world persists despite
women like you who assemble
elaborate algorithms almost
at a glance. Thus you program
our future, convincing me
the latticework of antennae
on Bear Hill has wired itself
to transmit your fondest thought
painlessly into my cortex.

Among arrogant stainless buildings
housing hi-tech firms you pause
to scout for that deli where men
brag about their latest patents
and women refuse to admire them
because busy sketching circuits
or graphing delicate equations.

You find the deli where you left it,
a modest stucco cube placed
on the awkward corner opposite
a biotech company gloating
behind a blue ceramic façade.
We crowd a tiny table
beside a louche character gobbling
a sandwich thick as a beagle.

He’s boasting to a pal of stealing
the circuitry of a microchip
that will render current cell phones
obsolete. I sympathize
with the obsolete, but slurping
corn chowder you pummel me
with a marketing scheme so grand
in conception your latest
and cruelest invention either
will enrich or disgrace you.
Your sketch means nothing to me,
a schematic only the slyest
engineer could follow. You crush
your notebook to your bosom
and swear we’ll retire to Spain when
you lease this creation for millions
up front, royalties to follow.

I agree mostly for the sake
of reinforcing the posture
we’ve assumed to mutually impress.
If only I fully understood
what we’re marketing: a device
so cunning no future cell phone
will want to function without it.
You’re so excited your hand
crabs over mine and squeezes.

Bear Hill’s transmission towers glow
like Jacob’s Ladder. The heat
stifles. I’m glad for you but
eager to escape, my sandwich
limp as a corpse and the money
you believe will redeem us
already toxic as the lettuce
I pull from between the slices
of rye and leave on my plate.

About the author

William Doreski's work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently Waiting for the Angel (Pygmy Forest Press, 2009).