February: The Boy Breughel
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.