Norman Dubie

The Aspirin Papers

—for Sean
On the white lacquered radio from Manilla
something by Ravel that is so heavily illustrated
it has made you dizzy and nauseous. The tall villain
from the Kingdom has been shot through the eye
and your three year-old daughter
paces before the muted hotel television
wringing her hands
and with half-breaths, murmuring,
“Oh, no, he must have had a mother. Poor man?
Oh, no!”
The dust storm outside is heavy enough to weigh
on you like a very wet snow.
On the phone you said that they lie to us so often
that now only we know the difference.
The wind works an old Tucson granary down the street
to degrees of something like a new silence,
martian
and indifferent.
Jen asks if you couldn’t open the window
just a crack and Amelia is still pacing the room
in the green strobe of the old television. Off.
The power goes off for a moment and there is a feint
of unconsciousness. Then all the engines of the world
turning on again. You look at your wife and say, “Why not.”


Norman Dubie