William Trowbridge

On Brueghel’s Massacre of the Innocents
June 25, 2023 Trowbridge William



He’s switched the scene from Bethlehem
to 16th-Century Flanders, from Herod’s rampage


to the Spanish Duke of Alba’s. Had he lived longer,
it could have been Wounded Knee, Baba Yar,


My Lai, or someplace we’ve yet to hear of.
Bunched soldiers block the road out of town.


In front of them, the butchery unfolds, children
skewered before their begging parents, more


bleeding-out on the snow. In the foreground,
assailants batter down a door, as others


climb through a window. Four more
circle in, spearing infants one by one


as a woman sits on the ground, baby sprawled
in her lap, and a straggler trots by, hunting


for his first. From a distance, captains observe
the show, bet if it will end in time for lunch.

William Trowbridge’s ninth poetry collection, Call Me Fool, was published by Red Hen Press in the fall of 2022.  He is a mentor in the University of Nebraska Omaha Low-residency MFA in Writing Program and was Poet Laureate of Missouri from 2012 to 2016. For more information, see his web site williamtrowbridge.net.