The Medley

is a twice-a-year literary journal run by the students of Hansraj College, University of Delhi. It is a repository of stories, poems and essays sent to us from around the world since 2018.

At the Animal Shelter After Dark

From the deep end of the unlit parking lot the full moon looks savory as a macaroon. Clouds too thin to conceal anything sweep along, drooling snowflakes that burst against my upturned face.

You prefer waiting in the light cast from the shelter doorway. We’re planning to adopt a cat, but because of the pandemic the shelter can accommodate only one couple at a time.

The cold shrugs through me with sobs of self-pity. Two dumpsters loom in the dark, green steel, monumental, Egyptian with emphatic form.

We’ve already lost our turn to an eager young pair so cat-hungry we have to question their mutual sanity. You watch through the glass door as they fuss over paperwork, their forty-dollar adoption fee already laid out in plain cash on the counter.

I’d rather watch the moon leer through the vague and restless sky. It often illuminates body parts daylight hardly ever encounters.

Not tonight, though. Too cold for noodling in parked pickup trucks or lying in grass by the river. At this far end of February snow sulks two feet deep in meadows. The ice on the lakes is thick enough to discourage even fisherfolk who arrive with gas-powered drills.

You gesture for me to join you inside the shelter where a cat lately abandoned needs us to encourage a healthy appetite and growth of a richer pelt.

The moon looks too aloof to notice whether I’m watching it or not. Willing to transcend my species, I follow you indoors where the brilliant lamplight washes away the worst of my sinful thinking.

William Doreski

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.