February: The Boy Breughel

Norman Dubie

 
The birches stand in their beggar's row:
Each poor tree
Has had its wrists nearly
Torn from the clear sleeves of bone,
These icy trees
Are hanging by their thumbs
Under a sun
That will begin to heal them soon,
Each will climb out
Of its own blue, oval mouth;
The river groans,
Two birds call out from the woods
And a fox crosses through snow
Down a hill; then, he runs,
He has overcome something white
Beside a white bush, he shakes
It twice, and as he turns
For the woods, the blood in the snow
Looks like the red fox,
At a distance, running down the hill:
A white rabbit in his mouth killed
By the fox in snow
Is killed over and over as just
Two colors, now, on a winter hill:
Two colors! Red and white. A barber's bowl!
Two colors like the peppers
In the windows
Of the town below the hill. Smoke comes
From the chimneys. Everything is still.
Ice in the river begins to move,
And a boy in a red shirt who woke
A moment ago
Watches from his window
The street where an ox
Who's broken out of his hut
Stands in the fresh snow
Staring cross-eyed at the boy
Who smiles and looks out
Across the roof to the hill;
And the sun is reaching down
Into the woods
Where the smoky red fox still
Eats his kill. Two colors.
Just two colors!
A sunrise. The snow.
 
From Selected and New Poems, published by W.W. Norton & Co., 1983. Copyright © 1983 by Norman Dubie. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Poems by This Author

For Tranströmer by Norman Dubie
In the cold heavy rain, through
Of Politics, & Art by Norman Dubie
Here, on the farthest point of the peninsula
The Czar's Last Christmas Letter: A Barn in the Urals by Norman Dubie
You were never told, Mother, how old Illya was drunk
The Novel as Manuscript by Norman Dubie
I remember the death, in Russia


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