The Wolf's Lair by Norman Dubie

The swarming deerflies carry a bloom of narcissus
to the bench in the chapel’s loft
where the priest lay in putrefaction
from Monday to this Saturday’s supper.

The exorcists growing disconsolate
in their birch paper hats
went down to the ruins by the river
with buckets of ale and scalded eels.

The peach sacks of the mad women of Oilliers
flew from the mountain
to the grim winter wood, where
like comets drunken with millennia
they shot through the illustrated shadows
of dead S.S. and their cannon mules—
the wood smoldering through Lent.

There were fireflies inside the houses of the rich.

(Illustrated with what, the phosphor
of cadaver and a poor potato farmer’s
bag of lime.
Anyone who slept at night was sick throughout the morning.)

Margaret rested her head on the cork floor
of the Fuhrer’s walk-in freezer.
I struck my head with a stone
to stop the birdsong.
Then together we ate bark off the willow.

Just last year the Fuhrer was nervous
about his back-acre in the mountains—
how deer from nowhere clattered into the meadow
to the minefields—there was a thunderclap—
and generals with their women stepped into the garden
where the rose mist painted the stunned deer
diagonally before the green sun. One
of the bearded stags standing on three legs.
Martin Borman shot him nicely in the chest
with just a gold plated pistol. The creature
fell over and another geyser of venison
rained down around us.

The Fuhrer said a good afternoon was had by all—
and that the animals’ empty expressions
betrayed to him the laughter of Mother Nature.

"The Wolf's Lair " posted with permission of Norman Dubie. Copyright © 2004 Norman Dubie.