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.




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