Norman Dubie

September 11, 2014 Dubie Norman


after Nicolás Alcalá


The chair is not far from the bed

as if the bed were a table

over which the dead live

and hesitate like pods in a red tree

lifting above the mountain stream; it whispers

from the throat of the tree,

the pods like clay

rattling in snow and wind.


There’s something about the chair

being too near to the bed, both

are prodigy to the rubber sheet, a

black alluvial scree on the hospital floor

there in St. Petersburg. The woman


was the mother of the feathered priest,

she turned her head

away from the bread

with specks of limestone glistening

in her hair—

the table lifts with us

above the trees that are white now

in an alkaline field,


the bar of soap on the windowsill

is green

like the throat of the pigeon

who also sleeps in the wet vellum street…


Up in the darker loft there are life-sized dolls

made of cornhusk, it is now


that the dead cosmonaut’s mother points

with a finger in the direction of the cold

blue wash of clouds,

her memory turning adamantine,

five lustrous fat wolves

dragging a small deer along a distant treeline.

Norman Dubie’s newest collection of poems, Robert Schumann is Mad Again, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2019. His previous collection, The Quotations of Bone (Copper Canyon Press, 2015), won the 2016 Griffin International Poetry Prize. His most recent book of aphorisms, Lumen de Lumine (Paper Press Books, 2017), will be available this fall. He lives and teaches in Tempe, AZ.