Norman Dubie

Encanto’s Ferry

He left the tent of the soup kitchen, passing
a friend without speaking. A mockingbird
freeing every song it had heard
in those last brackish hours of evening.
He lit a cigarette. Something clean
like gin was what he was missing…
He walked over the gravel to the new power station
which at night is like a chandelier
of guttering, blank candles. He threw burlap
over the barbed wire
and dropped into a shallow security pond.
He climbed the ladder of the smokestack, turning
his back to it, facing the wind—
spread-eagle, he dove, falling in silence
into the cat’s cradle of live wires, discrete
moth-sear and sage in the desert air—
the neighborhoods went black in every direction.
A 707 was coming in along the dry riverbed.
A passenger, looking down on the spreading darkness,
saw at the center of it, a suspended
human form on fire.
She folded her hands and buried them
in the crotch of a purple dress, vomiting
onto the bald head of the man seated in front of her.
She said, much later, “He must have been disturbed?”
The wheels of the plane now touching the earth.
In our words,
power was being restored to the suburbs.

Norman Dubie
“Encanto’s Ferry” is from Insomniac Liar of Topo (Copper Canyon Press, 2007).