scion, circa TEN

Norman Dubie

I feel like a spent clerk

tramping away from the hillsides.

The camel sick

with blood in its urine.

It’s the mystery of drunken birds

up in the morning date palms…

More and more intrigue

and cold lamb with raisins.

In recent memory

it’s the waltz of the nutcracker

and a green

model-t back-firing… in Damascus,

your mother’s grave

filling in waves

during the late evening dust storm.

A tintype of a blue and rouged

pilot whale being fed alewives

from a yellow rowboat quickening everything —

it is dragging you away

from your sister’s children

playing in ashes

while her dead husband carves the lamb.

The earthquake killed

a third of the government’s cloaked men,

it arrives in the air

like prophecy

or a cocktail of naphtha

and English gin,

the birds

go drunken

and you stand in the doorway


as if in a painted crucifixion

of a dead girl flummoxed in the tree.

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