The Sarin Fields Outside Aleppo

Norman Dubie

It begins with a schoolteacher dead

in the trees.

It begins in another town.

Even the greeks thought the city

would finally be revealed

flat as glass.

Black tea brewing

in a large rusted coffee tin

isn’t the death of duality’s

hapless prosecutorial friend

who transcends.

His broad red hem drags

over the rocks of an old road

where Saul found the light

full and embryonic,

lodged in him. He was a prick

of the exemplary life. And a clerk.

A steam-whistle off on the horizon

and the ghost of polity

in its long gown is walking

through the city carrying a sunset

on its shoulders. It is not proud.

This sack of birth can have

two fathers

like a litter of cats.

It was not sound. It was the light that opened him up.

No one told him

to cut the heavy flesh of the chord —

leaning against a dusty column

the placenta of iron and hair

slapped the stones of the road:

it was the very night. It was cold.

                                                      April 29, 2013

about the author